Deputies

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Funding the community fora

Éamon Ó Cuív (FF, Galway W) raised with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, the issue of 50:50 co-funding by the local authorities of the community fora (Dail Eireann, Debates, 31st May 2011, 810).  The minister, Phil Hogan, told him that the government had been obliged to reduce spending but to limit the impact on essential services and those most in need, so it was in that context that €587,000 was provided for voluntary and community fora.  It was up to local authorities to provide additional or matching funding.  Later, the minister told Brian Stanley (SF, Laois Offaly) that he had approved a further €55,000 to the Irish National Community and Voluntary Forum for the next two years, on top of €19,000 already allocated: this was the representative body of all the fora (Dail Eireann, Debates, 16th June 2011, 676-7).  He recognized that his department’s allocation to the fora was down 50% on last year, due to the current economic circumstances.  Final decisions would have to be made for the 2012 estimates.  The government recognized the value of the work carried out by community and voluntary organizations, including the voluntary and community fora, complementing state activities in the area.  He continued:

We want to eliminate duplication and triplication, which is unsustainable.  We want to ensure that core funding for these community organizations being assessed at the moment is provided on a county basis.  Each county has built up an enormous number of agencies and organizations.  The community sector is telling me that it wants certainty, streamlining and responsive delivery of services.  I do not want to see the money I am allocating creating administrative posts.  I want to see the money allocated on the ground for use of services for which the community has applied.