Tuesday, 11 October 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
40. Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason the Government has failed to deliver its own priority objectives in the national youth work development plan, including the appointment of an assessor for youth work, the capacity building of youth work organisations and the vocational educational committees, and the establishment of a development unit for youth work in view of the funding having been available from the start of 2005; the timeframe planned to address this deficit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27700/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): The framework for youth work in Ireland is provided by the Youth Work Act 2001 and the National Youth Work Development Plan 2003-2007. I recognise the importance of these two policy documents in the development of the youth work sector and the programmes and services.
The allocation for the youth work sector in 2005 represents an 18% increase in funding over 2004 and brings financial provision for the sector to €33.889 million in 2005. This is clear evidence of the Government’s commitment to the youth work sector in Ireland.
The following is the up-to-date position in relation to the priorities identified for 2005. With regard to the Youth Work Act 2001, discussions are ongoing between my Department and the Department of Finance in relation to the additional posts being sought by VECs to fulfil their requirements under the Act. The appointment of an assessor of youth work is an important development for youth work. Sanction for this post has been received from the Department of Finance and my Department is currently in discussion with the Public Appointments Service regarding the recruitment process. Increased funding has been made available to youth organisations and youth projects funded under the youth service grant scheme and the special projects for youth scheme. These organisations and projects have been granted an 8% increase in their financial allocations. Ten new special projects for youth have also been sanctioned together with the upgrade of 20 current single-worker special projects to two worker projects. The 8% increase also applies to youth information centres. In addition, a review of the youth information provision nationally is currently being carried out by external consultants. With regard to child protection training for the sector, additional financial support has been made available in this regard to the National Youth Council of Ireland. The promised funding review of the youth work sector is being carried out by external consultants and is nearing completion.
In addition, I have also created a development fund for youth work organisations on a once-off basis to assist them in preparing themselves organisationally for the implementation of the Youth Work Act, 2001.
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