The Wheel Warns That "An Snip" Report Contains Hidden Cuts to Public Services

The Wheel, a national support and representative body for community and voluntary organisations, today warned that if implemented, An Bord ‘Snip’ Nua’s proposed cuts in funding for community and voluntary organisations will effectively amount to an additional reduction in funding for essential public services in areas such as Health, Education, and Social Welfare which have already been singled out for savage cuts elsewhere in the report.

Deirdre Garvey, chief executive of The Wheel, said the McCarthy Report fails to acknowledge that community and voluntary organisations deliver essential public services in areas such as education, mental health, disabilities, and welfare for very vulnerable people. Many of the organisations delivering these services depend on funding from the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs – one of the government departments targeted for closure in the report.

“The proposed cut of 64% in the allocation for community and voluntary sector supports, such as the Local Community Grants scheme, the Community Scheme for Older People and Supports for Volunteering will weaken community and voluntary organisation’s capacity to deliver essential services to the most vulnerable people in society,” said Garvey. She added that if implemented, the proposed abolition of the RAPID scheme, a 59% reduction in the allocation for local and community and development programmes, and a 20% cut in funding for the Community Services Programme, which employs people from the live register, would weaken the support services available to the growing number of people in need.

Ms Garvey said The Wheel is also deeply concerned about the following proposals contained in the report:

Discontinuation of the Active Citizenship Office and the immediate cessation of implementation of the recommendations issued by the Taskforce on Active Citizenship.

“The Government declared the promotion of active citizenship a national priority in 2007. We believe that active citizenship and social entrepreneurship will be key to economic and social recovery, and that the relatively minor saving that could be gained though the implementation of this proposal (€100,000) is far outweighed by the long-term benefits of the active citizenship initiative,” Ms Garvey said. 

The effective suspension of funding for training in employment

“Continued training for those who are already in employment will be essential if we are to move towards a ‘smart economy’. Government cannot renege on its long-standing commitment to help fund further training in the workplace – for if it does, it will effectively undermine the foundations of future economic recovery.”

Ms Garvey concluded that is not acceptable that Government's ambition is limited to “minimising” the impact of the proposed cuts on the most vulnerable in Irish society. “Government must commit to actively protecting the vulnerable in the current crisis and taking the decisions that this commitment requires. We cannot afford further cuts to our community and voluntary infrastructure at a time when an increasing number of people are being forced to depend on the services we provide. In responding to the recommendations of this report, Government needs to acknowledge the need for a robust social infrastructure that is capable of protecting people from becoming vulnerable. It needs to have the courage to take decisions that put the economy at the service of the people,” she said.

ABOUT THE WHEEL

The Wheel is a national support and representative body for community, voluntary and charitable organisations. We provide a wide range of support services, information and training to individuals and organisations involved in community and voluntary activity, and we represent our sector’s interests in several fora, including the social partnership process.

Visit The Wheel website by clicking on the logo below.