The General Election 2016: A Message for Candidates

General election 2016

Dear Candidate,

The community,voluntary and charitable sector forms a very important part of Ireland's social and economic life, comprising 11,500 community and voluntary organisations, involving more than half a million volunteers and 100,000 staff and with a combined turnover of over €5.7 billion a year. 
In fact, the  sector constitutes a large part of Ireland’s social infrastructure, with community and voluntary organisations providing essential services in health and social care; in education; in disability services; in environmental sustainability; in conservation and in a myriad of other fields. Yet following years of funding reductions and increases in demand for their services, the sector is still facing very challenging times, with big changes taking place in how organisations are regulated, funded and ultimately understood. We need to make sure that Ireland's community, voluntary and charitable organisations are able to fulfill their key function in supporting communities the length and breath of the country - and we need to support the 50,000 volunteer board-members on whom all this effort depends.

A priority for the next government must be to ensure the creation of an enabling environment to sustain this important work. 

We in The Wheel believe it's time to fully support community and voluntary organisations in their work and that the next government should

bulletrespect community and voluntary activity as a central part of Irish life;

bulletappoint a minister for community and voluntary activity;
bulletdevelop a strategy to support the community and voluntary sector;
bulletproduce a funding plan to enable the sector to thrive; and
bulletregulation that supports the sector.
The Wheel also believes that active citizenship is an essential feature of a healthy democracy. Through our project The People's Conversation we have worked with a wide range of people to develop a framework for citizen empowerment which would see the people themselves taking a more central role in public decision-making. We call on all candidates to commit to initiatives to meet the five challenges set out in our report Citizens Rising:
bulletIncreasing participation in public decision making
bulletDeveloping and nurturing active citizenship
bulletBuilding trust and respect
bulletMaking citizenship global
bulletResourcing and empowering citizens
We would very much appreciate your support as a candidate, and we ask you to register your support by completing the following form: 




Resources for Candidates

This printable flier outlines The Wheel's five policy asks. Please share this with your party colleagues and supporters. If you are tweeting please use #votecommunity2016

Let's commission for communitiesLet's Commission for Communities Report (PDF)

Let's Commission for Communities identifies the societal value that the community and voluntary approach delivers: the energy, endeavour and commitment displayed and the funds contributed. The report makes strong recommendations for the next government about what is needed if we want to continue to benefit from a thriving community and voluntary sector.
This report is a response to and reflection on the various ideas, themes and aspirations that emerged during a vibrant and stimulating series of conversations over the past 12 month. In it we have set out a framework for citizen empowerment. 


For more information contact Ivan Cooper at or on tel: (01) 454 8727.