Speaking in the Dáil, on Rural and Community Development, Cork South West TD Holly Cairns, called on Minister Ring to ensure that the community sector is properly funded in light of the Covid-19 emergency. An over-reliance on fundraising and inconsistent government funding, results in poorly resourced services which cannot properly plan or develop.
“Community and voluntary organisations have been severely impacted by the pandemic. At the same time these groups have done incredible work in supporting vulnerable people. While the Government’s COVID-19 Stability Fund provided support for charities and social enterprises, it also highlighted their precarious position. An effective community sector should not be relying on fundraising to provide essential services. There is an abdication of responsibility to properly fund disadvantaged communities and vulnerable groups. The state outsources the provision of services to over-stretched organisations, dedicated volunteers, and people’s generosity. That isn’t good enough.
“Think about it; how many vital services are provided by the non-profit sector in Ireland? The list is endless: day services and respite for people with disabilities and their families, life-saving mental health facilities, family resource centres, and so many more. They provide crucial services and the state needs to properly invest in them, they should not have to rely on sponsored runs, virtual coffee mornings, and Instagram challenges for funding.
“Unfortunately, Minister Ring essentially dismissed my concerns and didn’t engage with the substance of my points. Right now organisations working on shoe-string budgets in all our communities cannot plan beyond the next financial cycle. We need to move towards a properly resourced community sector with multi-annual funding, enabling these groups to operate with greater security and certainty, and allowing them to focus on the vital work they do rather than worrying about funding. Covid-19 has shown that in Ireland community comes first. Government needs to respond in the same way.”
04th June 2020