Cabinet Minister for Community Affairs Welcomed by The Wheel

Posted on 2 Jul 2020

Role of communities in social solidarity during pandemic can now be strengthened.

The Wheel has welcomed the retention of a Cabinet Minister with responsibility for Community and Rural Affairs in the new government as an acknowledgement of the vital role played by charities, social enterprises and community and voluntary organisations in battling Covid-19.

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel, said that the appointment of Heather Humphreys as Minister, in conjunction with a wide range of positive measures outlined in the Programme for Government, “will greatly assist community based solidarity and endeavour to deal with the new realities of the 2020’s.”

“These include issues such as increased home working, threats to previously viable business models, new requirements for health and social care delivery, climate change requirements and changing civil society needs that will arise from these major challenges.

“The appointment of Minister Humphreys with responsibility for our sector has an added significance, in view of her previous experience as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Social enterprises, many charities and a number of community based organisations now operate partly or wholly on a commercial model and those can expect to benefit additionally from the Minister’s expertise.”

“Just as importantly, the new Programme for Government specifies a number of major priorities to support community and charity based endeavour. These include a new Anti-Poverty, Social Inclusion and Community Development Action Plan, an update of Dormant Accounts legislation to expand eligibility and a revision of charity legislation to increase trust and confidence in management and administration of charities.

“The programme also commits to build on Ireland’s first ever National Social Enterprise Policy, to fully implement the five-year strategy to support the community & voluntary sector to 2024 and to publish a strategy to support Volunteering,

“Very significantly, a unit in the Department of Taoiseach to coordinate social dialogue is proposed. This will be a vital means to ensure a holistic approach to community and charity based issues is adopted and implemented throughout all government departments.”

“The coming period will be very challenging for communities and community based organisations, as in deed it will for our entire economy and society. The Wheel looks forward to working closely with Minister Humphreys and her officials to further refine and develop policies and resources for the overall sector.

“The great spirit of solidarity and co-operation evident between the community sector and government during the worst of the pandemic should and must be strengthened and built on in the coming years.” Deirdre Garvey said.