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Closure of Carmichael Centre would be disastrous

22 June, 2004

Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe today raised in the Dáil the urgent issue of the threat of imminent closure of Carmichael House in Dublin and urged the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to intervene to ensure the survival of small NGOs like the Coeliac Society of Ireland which provides a "vital role for the thousands of coeliac sufferers in Ireland".

Deputy Crowe said:

"There is an urgent necessity for the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to make a commitment to provide the necessary funding to keep the Carmichael Centre open and running at its current level of professionalism. The Centre currently hosts 45 volunteer groups, including the Coeliac Society of Ireland who service and provide support to 7,500 coeliacs.

"The services that the Carmichael Centre provide to community groups and NGOS is invaluable with many people dependent on the support and networking that is provided from advocacy groups to disability groups to lobby groups. The services and work that the 45 small organisations in the Centre provide cannot be underestimated. The Coeliac Society has played a vital role for the thousands of coeliac sufferers in Ireland - this disease was largely ignored for years and now that so many people yearly are diagnosed as sufferers, it is vitally important that they have access to the information and support that the Coeliac Society offers.

"With all the money flowing around this country, we should be seeing upgrading, not downgrading, of services. If we have a department for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, then they should certainly sit up and pay attention to this very important issue for community affairs with wide-reaching effects amongst the members and supporters of these 45 essential groups, now threatened with homelessness." ENDS

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