Copy of a letter I sent to the Irish Times:
Department of Sociology
The shortsightedness of the government’s plans to subsume community development projects in area partnerships (Letters, 25 November) was eloquently articulated by four community activists on Vincent Browne’s TV3 show on the same day. Cathleen O’Neill of Kilbarrack CDP, Rita Fagan of St Michael’s Family Resource Centre, Bronagh O’Neill of the Canal Equality Campaign and Margaret O’Shea of the Kerry Network for People with Disabilities highlighted the services CDPs provide, often by volunteers, to their communities, and the loss to theses communities of taking the projects away from the people they are serving. The transfer to area partnerships has been decided upon without consultation and it is evident that now more than ever CDPs are both ‘good value’ and essential in providing services such as childcare, after school care, programmes for women and disabled people, not provided by the state and local authorities.
Likewise, migrant-led organisations and networks, whose case has not yet been championed, are also facing drastic funding cuts. Like the CDPs, they also provide much needed services to their constituencies, often on a voluntary basis. These services, including empowerment and advocacy, language training, gender-based programmes, and basic advice on rights and entitlements, are not provided by the state or local authorities. Thus, like the CDPs, migrant-led organisations save the state money while at the same time facilitating the smoother integration of migrants into Irish society and preventing the eruption of banlieu-style disturbances in the future.
The planned cuts and amalgamations are supported by leading philanthropists, whose financial largesse involves the over zealous management of CDPs and migrant organisations, often leading to the decimation of the very sector they purport to support. I call on Minister Eamon O Cuiv and Minister of State John Curran to guarantee the continued funding and autonomy of both CDPs and migrant-led organisations whose contribution is vitally needed now more than ever before.