Minister Announces Details of Structured Dialogue with Community and Voluntary Pillar

Minister Pat Carey TD has announced that the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs is entering into a structured dialogue process with the 17 members of the Community and Voluntary Pillar of the social partnership agreement (including The Wheel).

The impetus for the dialogue is that, under the Towards 2016 Social Partnership Agreement and the Review and Transitional Agreement 2008-2009, the Government is committed to engaging with the Community and Voluntary sector to deepen the partnership between statutory bodies and voluntary and community organisations.

It is proposed that the dialogue process will be undertaken initially on a bilateral basis between the Department and the Community and Voluntary Pillar, of which The Wheel is a member.

Subject to good progress being made on a bilateral basis, other Departments would be invited into the process to engage on cross-cutting issues

Announcing the initiative Minister Carey said: “I believe that it is essential to continue the Government’s strong engagement with the Community & Voluntary Pillar and hope that, through my Department’s engagement in structured dialogue, we can develop a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges for developing the sector into the future.”

The Wheel has been actively advocating for a structured partnership between Government and the Community and Voluntary Sector. Ivan Cooper, The Wheel's Director of Advocacy, welcomed the development: "This announcement - whilst coming very late indeed in the life of this Government  - is nevertheless to be welcomed in that it provides a solid starting point from to establish working relations between the sector and the state in the years ahead."