Community and Voluntary Sector: Motion (Resumed)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 743 No. 2

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The following motion was moved by Deputy Brian Stanley on Tuesday, 11 October 2011.

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Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:

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[482]

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Should we wait for a Minister?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We are due to finish at 7.30 p.m.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  We would like the Government to hear what we have to say.

Deputy Dara Murphy: Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  We are the Government.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Not that it really listens.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There is no obligation to have a Minister here. Members’ contributions will be on the record. I call Deputy Donnelly, followed by Deputies Richard Boyd Barrett, Catherine Murphy, Joe Higgins and Seamus Healy, all of whom have two minutes each.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Can I call a quorum?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  A quorum cannot be called during Private Members’ business.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  This is insulting. I would like that to be noted on the record.

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  Can I call a quorum?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Apparently, we cannot call a quorum.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Not during Private Members’ Business.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Okay.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  There is only one valiant Deputy from the Government side present, which is extraordinarily disappointing given we are speaking about the community and voluntary sector. I welcome my colleague, Deputy Dara Murphy, and thank him for being here.

I would like to address briefly the issue of funding in the voluntary and community sector, which is at the heart of the motion we are discussing. There are four sources of funding, namely, the State, ordinary individuals, corporates and high net worth individuals. We are a nation of givers. As individuals we give often compared with our European colleagues. We gave more per capita for the Somalian crisis than did any other country in Europe. We are a nation of givers.

However, the McKinsey report on philanthropic giving published in 2010 showed that as individuals the total amount we give relative to our European counterparts is low. This is mainly because we give in an ad hoc fashion. We do not sign up to planned giving. Data from [483]the UK show that on average a person gives five times more in any given year if they sign up for planned giving. Not only has there been a drop in the State’s contribution to the voluntary and community sector since the commencement of the recession, but between 1995 and 2005, funding from the State to the voluntary and community sector fell by €300 million. It is important to note that this is not new.

In terms of our corporates, namely, our business sector, the research shows that our businesses as a percentage of pre-tax profits give about one tenth of what businesses in the UK give. The level of engagement from our corporate sector, in terms of cash and what counts, is absolutely miserable. High net worth individuals typically set up foundations around the world. We have only three foundations of any significant size in Ireland, two of which are in pay down mode, which is causing huge concern in the voluntary and community sector. We have the lowest number of foundations per capita in Europe. While all of this indicates that we do not give anything like what our European colleagues give, it also shows huge potential for the voluntary and community sector. I call on the Government to examine these and to come up with some ideas. If anyone from the Government ever bothers to show up I can show them how the corporate sector and high net worth individuals can be encouraged to give more and how the voluntary and community sector can be given additional capacity to help them raise more funding.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  It is extraordinarily disappointing and pretty outrageous that the Minister has not bothered to turn up for this debate, which is about defending and protecting one of the most vulnerable sectors of our society. The Government amendment is a scandal in that it has diluted to nothing a very good motion put forward by Sinn Féin which articulates the views of the tens of thousands of people working in and benefiting from the community sector in this country. It is important to note that this motion essentially arises from what some of our most vulnerable communities and sectors of society have asked for, namely, protection of community employment, services and projects that are so vital to sustaining those communities. The Government’s indifference to this motion and its dilution of it is indicative of its contempt for some of our most vulnerable sectors of society.

We are speaking here about projects and employment schemes that provide services for children, young adults, mothers, people with literacy and drug problems, immigrants and all other vulnerable sectors of our society in our most advantaged areas. These projects and employment schemes are a lifeline for those communities. Our society will be picking up the tab for years to come if the Government does not give us assurances that there will be no further cuts or, indeed, a reversal of cuts, in this area and that workers in this sector will be given the right to engage in proper negotiations so that they can at least have some chance of defending themselves against the brutal cuts that are being imposed on them. It will cost society and our most disadvantaged communities if the Government persists with the bludgeoning of these projects and workers.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  It is not enough to pay lip-service to the community and voluntary sector which, when it comes to cuts, is the first to be hit. There is no certainty in this sector in which 50,000 people are working. There appears to be no strategy in terms of retaining what is essential. Many of these services are essential.

We are all aware of the appalling state of our finances. However, we need to spend money in the most effective way possible. I am all in favour of reform but I see no vision or blueprint for this particular sector, which is diverse and fragmented. The reason for this is that it has developed in response to local need. Often work carried out in developed countries by state agencies is done by the community and voluntary sector here. For example, much of the work around drugs has been developed in response to drug dependency in particular communities. [484] Ironically, it was during previous recessions in the 1970s and early 1980s that the drug epidemic commenced. Programmes were devised as a response to this but are now facing cuts. With Garda numbers being cut and treatment services coming under increased pressure, we are only storing up problems for the future. The diversity and fragmented nature of community and voluntary services are their great strength.

If the Government wants value for money, flexibility and multitasking from publicly funded groups, this sector will provide it. While it is difficult to imagine its disappearance, there is an expectation on the Government’s part to have this work done on a voluntary basis which is simply unsustainable. On the doorsteps during the general election, people told us they want their tax moneys spent effectively with waste cut out and on the projects that need to be done. No blueprint has been drawn up for the community and voluntary sector, however. One must be drawn up if we want to retain some of the most vital services provided by the sector.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  It is outrageous that ten minutes into this debate there is still no Minister present in the Chamber. While I accept someone could be delayed for a few minutes, ten minutes into a debate appears to be a deliberate affront to the Opposition and community and voluntary sector, the subject of this Private Members’ motion.

I compliment Sinn Féin’s extensive motion that goes to the heart of the work done by community and voluntary organisations. The sector provides services, many of which should be provided by the Government. I have a significant involvement in this sector through a child-care facility in Elm Park, Clonmel, and through the provision of services and residences for women suffering domestic violence. I commend all those who work in these areas.

However, this sector is now the target of budgetary cuts. It is the last area that should come under such a review while the cuts already implemented should be reversed. The Government refers to funding and financial difficulties. If it were serious about making moneys available for this sector, it would go after the very wealthy individuals with huge assets who are still not taxed. Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I raise this matter but if those individuals were taxed, there would be no need for cuts in this and many other areas.

Deputy Dara Murphy: Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  I wish to share time with Deputies Hannigan, Kyne and Eric Byrne.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is that agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Dara Murphy: Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  There is little in this Sinn Féin motion with which a reasonable person or politician could disagree. The community and voluntary sector is this country’s most invaluable asset. I recollect the previous Administration attempted to audit the value to the State of the work done by this sector but had to abandon the task because it was so huge.

Unfortunately, the motion has to be amended because it contains several paragraphs that are too political. It also does not take into account the State’s difficult financial position, created by Fianna Fáil, members of which are not present in the Chamber this evening.

I agree with the motion’s aspiration that voluntary and community services need to be delivered as close as possible to the end user. The Government will examine the degree to which local authorities engaging on the ground with local communities have at their disposal the ability and the funding to assist this sector. I welcome the Government’s commitment to looking after the voluntary sporting sector.

I reject the claim of disproportionate cuts to the community and voluntary sector. In fact, the reverse is the case. This sector is obviously delivering services which the Government is [485]unable to deliver, as happens in other European countries. However, we need to promote this sector because Ireland is just at the European average for numbers involved in volunteerism.

The suggestion of using dormant accounts funds and proceeds seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau, CAB, to promote prevention and treatment programmes in drug problem areas is very worthwhile. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien is aware of the benefits of such a suggestion in Cork’s north side, having been involved with such community groups there. They provide value for money for the State through the work they can do in local communities. It is the perfect match that moneys derived from crime are channelled back to the groups trying to undo crime’s negative effects.

Apart from several political paragraphs, the Sinn Féin motion echoes the Government’s policy in the voluntary and community sector. In the main, the sector will find the Government will listen to it with a favourable ear.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Why has the Government then tabled an amendment to delete completely the Sinn Féin motion?

Deputy Dominic Hannigan: Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Only last month I was reminded of the dedication and effort of community groups in their localities when I stepped outside my front door and walked into the Dunshaughlin funfair, part of the week-long Dunshaughlin harvest festival. Its organising committee galvanised the local community to clean up and paint the village as well as renovating some buildings. The festival was successful in attracting visitors to the village and I congratulate the organising committee on its efforts.

Such work is essential to building communities. In Meath alone, there are 400 community groups. As legislators, we need to be aware of their role in local communities and ensure we can relieve some of the burdens they face. I have been contacted by several groups to raise the matter of one such burden, the need for audited accounts. Producing these costs approximately €1,000 every year while participating in FÁS schemes can cost community groups in the order of €2,000 or €3,000, depending on the size of the scheme. Such costs can be highly restrictive, meaning less money is available for other parts of the projects. Will the Minister of State with responsibility for sport ask the Ministers for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Social Protection to examine how the burden on local community groups can be reduced?

Simple solutions have been suggested to me. First, when voluntary and community organisations register with the Companies Registration Office, CRO, could they be defined as not-for-profit companies? Second, could community employment schemes be allowed to operate in a manner similar to the way the rural social scheme works, as this would help to alleviate administrative burden on community groups? I look forward to learning the Minister of State’s thoughts on these matters.

The last section of Sinn Féin’s motion deals with the all-Ireland consultative civic forum. In my role as Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, I will consider this matter. The St. Andrews Agreement builds on the commitment in the Good Friday Agreement to an independent consultative forum where civic society from North and South of the Border can meet and discuss issues. I welcome the comments by the Minister of State, Deputy Penrose last night to the effect that he was fully supportive of the concept and wanted it implemented as soon as possible.

The Government has sent its proposals on the forum to Northern Ireland. We are awaiting a response from the First Minister and the Office of the Deputy First Minister. The Deputy First Minister is otherwise engaged at the moment and has stepped away from his post. No doubt when he returns to his position he can help to drive the review forward.

[486]Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  No. The Office of the Deputy First Minister is filled.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  He is only journeying down for a number of weeks.

Deputy Dominic Hannigan: Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Events held by the previous version of the forum were successful. We need to move the process forward.

At my committee’s inaugural meeting last week, we visited places in Northern Ireland and spoke with community groups. This is an activity with which we will continue. At our meeting tomorrow, I intend to raise the issue of the all-Ireland consultative civic forum and drive forward the process.

Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne  As a public representative, I have seen at first hand the significant contribution community and voluntary organisations have made to every town and village. Thousands of organisations in the not-for-profit voluntary and community sector transform Irish society for the better each day in ways that other sectors cannot. Included in the voluntary organisations are those local community development groups and parish councils that meet weekly or monthly to plan events, fund-raise for projects and set up meetings and, in many cases, become the driving force behind community projects. Individuals give freely of their time and-or expertise to help their communities for no reason other than to improve their localities. Tidy Towns groups were mentioned by the Minister of State, Deputy Penrose, yesterday. Such groups provide sterling service to improve their surroundings and inspire pride for towns where improvements become visible. County councils are also important sources of funding for Tidy Towns and community groups. Despite the cutbacks, it is good that such small grants continue. These grants are valuable to local communities.

In recent weeks, I have attended a number of briefings and spoken with members of community and voluntary organisations such as the Carers Association, Marriage Equality, the Simon Communities and Older and Bolder, all of which tirelessly combat problems and issues and seek changes that can make a difference to the lives of many citizens.

We are all too aware of the financial and economic crisis being experienced by society. It must be said that community and voluntary organisations, acutely aware of the constraints on resources, have displayed a commendable understanding and a remarkable resilience at seeking new ways of doing more with less and of striving for efficiencies without sacrificing effectiveness.

Other non-governmental organisations, such as the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Free Legal Advice Centres have been instrumental in the recently completed universal periodic review of Ireland by consulting with communities and outlining areas of concern in respect of our human rights obligations. The United Nations and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, recognised the significant contribution of the Rights Now coalition of NGOs. This recognition is verification of the regard and respect that exists at Government level for our partners in the community and voluntary sector. Without doubt, the State will continue to work with such organisations as we examine ways to improve the legislative framework for human rights.

In the motion, Sinn Féin states that the Government has inflicted cutbacks on community and voluntary groups, specifically those that have spoken out against Government policies. This is inaccurate and an untruth. Both Government parties have upheld democratic principles and vindicated essential freedoms such as that of speech and expression without fear when others at darker moments in our history have not. Despite such calculated accusations being made against us, I assure all citizens that the Government will continue to support community and voluntary organisations that share the goals of protecting the vulnerable and disadvan[487]taged, upholding and respecting rights and making society fairer and more equitable despite the traumatic economic times in which we are living.

I commend the Government on its plans for an interim report on philanthropy. Last week saw the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle. I hope it can encourage the Irish diaspora to continue supporting our community and voluntary sectors, investing in our businesses and creating jobs.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  I am fascinated by the broad area that is the community and voluntary sector. The tragedy is that I have four minutes to talk about topics that could take me an hour to discuss. I am as much a community activist as I am a politician. It would take me four minutes to read out the list of groups on which I volunteer, including as a director. If anyone wants to see that list, he or she can visit my website, www.ericbyrne.ie. One could spend a good four minutes reading about my involvement in child care, drugs task forces and a range of other community groups.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  How far back does it go?

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  I will reiterate my belief in the voluntary and community sector by explaining how it acts as the concrete that binds communities and, consequently, societies together. The sector plays a vital role in providing social solidarity and support in the community.

I have been lobbied by people and asked to get my head around how to allow these groups to negotiate their terms and conditions of employment and their ability to spend money as they please. Granting negotiating rights on behalf of the sector is a difficult issue in light of the dozens of funding streams, for example, the HSE, local authorities, the Departments of Social Protection, Justice and Equality, the Environment, Community and Local Government and Health, the Garda Síochána and VECs. Intermediary bodies called local area partnership boards, which are limited companies, have responsibilities for funding streams and are usually under the management of Pobal. Will the Minister of State convey to the Government that it should strengthen the organisations by creating an umbrella organisation, one that could ensure stable funding for the groups, eradicate the duplication of funding and create greater efficiency in the community sector?

It is always sad to see programmes and projects collapse. I was a member of a local area partnership called the Kimmage, Walkinstown, Crumlin, Drimnagh, Terenure, KWCDT, partnership. It was put into liquidation by Pobal due to governance issues. So many community development projects and other projects have collapsed because of the simple matter of governance. More will do likewise unless the Government gets a handle on educating the people, mainly volunteers, who sit on boards tirelessly yet are not equipped to understand the importance of governance. To strengthen their role and allow them to spend money more productively, they should be better assisted. I cannot overstate the heroic and valuable work done by so many which provides the essential bond and social stability so needed in times of financial crisis.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  To conclude, I would like to state——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You are over time, Deputy.

[488]Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  What really gets me in the craw is that this motion comes from Sinn Féin, a party which continues to attack the Government. If I may quote the Sinn Féin-DUP programme for government——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, the Deputy cannot and he is over time.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Believe it or not, it commits the parties to continue their efforts to address the divisions in society——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy is taking time from other speakers.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  It states that progress has been made, but at a time when society is being transformed sectarianism, racism and intolerance are still all too evident. However, the Department of Education and Sinn Féin Minister, Catriona Ruane MLA——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Sorry, the Deputy is over time and he is taking time from other Members. He is being unfair.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  I will conclude now. In March, a 70% cut in funding of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council was made.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  I will accept criticism when it is due, but coming from a party that had already cut to the extent it did, which made the council reply that it had resulted in——

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Will you give us your CV as you are up there, along with your previous CV?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Sorry Deputy, you are over time.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  ——wide-ranging job losses in the community relations sector——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Resume your seat.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  ——and that schools and those engaging in community relations and cross community work——

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Does the Deputy want nobody else to be able to speak this evening?

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Sinn Féin Members are hypocrites.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Give us the rest of your CV.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I call Deputy McHugh who now has only three minutes.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Deputy McHugh is lucky he was left with anything.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  It was worthwhile to give my Government colleague latitude because he was giving the House very valid information.

The Government amendment mentions the commitment to the North-South consultative forum in the St. Andrews Agreement and it is important that I reiterate Deputy Hannigan’s observation and insight as Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement that it is important to get it up and going. There should be an [489]onus on both Administrations to get it going as a priority. It provides an opportunity, particularly at a time of reconfiguration in the community and voluntary sector at grassroots level. I acknowledge certain funding constraints exist and the community and voluntary sector will face certain challenges, but the positive news is that the sector is alive and well.

I acknowledge the Ceann Comhairle’s role and proactive involvement with Willie Hay, the Speaker of the House in Northern Ireland, in trying to get the political mechanism of the parliamentary forum up and running. It is important that we have a dual focus, and the consultative forum should be pursued vigorously alongside the efforts of the Ceann Comhairle.

While the sector does face reconfiguration, this presents an opportunity. There is much close connectivity between the voluntary and community sectors North and South and much good work is done. However there is also much duplication, and the Government amendment places emphasis on reduced duplication.

Last week, I spoke at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester and made the point there is an emphasis on duplication in Northern Ireland at present, led by the two Government parties. The word used by people down here is “ameliorate” but there is an austerity programme in Northern Ireland with a realignment of services. We should pursue more aggressively a realignment of services on a North-South basis. We need to engage more with the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat Party Government in the UK to pursue this agenda. It is not good enough to focus on the Good Friday Agreement aspects between Stormont and Westminster, as there is a third tier which is east-west North-South linkage. It is important because it presents opportunities with regard to economies of scale. We always ask why certain projects fall between two stools. Greencastle ferry cannot get mainstream funding——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  ——but it is a practical cross-Border project which requires energy and commitment on a North-South basis and realignment would provide an opportunity to do this.

My point on duplicity——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Sorry Deputy, you are over time.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  I am over time. Three minutes was a bit short.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I know.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  I will conclude by stating if we are serious about the focus of the Good Friday Agreement we should not consider Stormont and Westminster only. We must also consider the proceeds of North-South realignments and this must be done by challenging the mindset which exists between Stormont and Westminster.

Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  I commend Sinn Féin for tabling the motion because it gives all of us an opportunity to reflect on and discuss key aspects of community life.

I want to refer to community employment, CE, schemes. Recently, I listened to a very harsh critique of the value of CE schemes from a senior figure in the ESRI. I was very surprised by this individual’s dismissive and disparaging comments and assessment of CE schemes. The ESRI is an influential body with the ear of policy-makers. For this reason, its personnel have a responsibility to get out of their offices and into the community to familiarise themselves with the real value of CE schemes before passing judgment.

[490]If the ESRI were to take this approach, it would discover just how valuable a role CE schemes play. It would find that entire swathes of community infrastructure, community centres, crèches, buildings and halls are kept open for use through the presence of CE schemes. The importance of CE schemes extends far beyond infrastructure. CE schemes respond to many community needs through meals on wheels services and services for the elderly, crèches and schools. In many communities, including mine, CE schemes are now the bedrock of the infrastructure and a crucial resource.

Alongside these valuable services, the ESRI would also find that CE scheme participants are offered a path of self-development and self-realisation. Through the educational element of CE schemes, many have received a second chance in education, and discovered an urge for learning, and a realisation they can succeed at learning. This can and does enrich lives. In my community, people who participate in the educational element of the CE scheme and gain access to college walk much taller and youngsters see them as role models in the community. It is hard to put a value or price on this but it is very important.

Therefore, I challenge the ESRI to evaluate properly the CE scheme rather than offer us its perceived value. We must move forward and re-imagine the CE schemes for a new generation and new economic circumstances, and as part of a strong social economy. To do this, we need a proper evaluation of CE schemes——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you Deputy.

Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  ——and their contribution.

With regard to the voluntary sector, we must also recognise the extent to which community life is enriched, enlivened and animated by the voluntary sector. Across the entire spectrum of community life, volunteerism is the fuel that drives clubs, groups, associations and committees.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you.

Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  We must also mention altruism, this disposition and spirit that is deeply embedded in the human psyche and personality. We must encourage, acknowledge, value, nurture and celebrate this, particularly in young people.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you.

Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  Finally——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You are way over time.

Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  I ask for half a minute more.

The Labour Party needs no lectures, instruction or guidance from Sinn Féin or any other party——

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Yes, you do.

Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  ——on the importance of valuing the community and voluntary sector. It was a Labour Party Minister who first introduced and invented the CE scheme——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you.

Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  ——a mechanism which has unlocked——

[491]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I must ask the Deputy to finish. He is taking time from his colleagues.

Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  ——a huge reservoir of individual and community talent. It was another Labour Party Minister, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, who invented another key building block of community infrastructure, namely the task forces. I want to——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you. Please resume your seat.

Deputy Dan Neville: Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  I welcome this opportunity to contribute to the debate. I wish to focus on an area of volunteerism which is often not fully understood, and this is volunteers on crisis helplines and organisations involved in bereavement support. Samaritans is an excellent voluntary organisation. People who staff crisis helplines are dealing with very vulnerable people and they may often be deeply affected by the work. However, they are well trained to deal with the difficulties. Their reward comes from the work and the skills they have acquired. I do not think society acknowledges to the fullest extent those who work with people in crisis on a voluntary basis. Samaritans has 1,400 volunteers in the Republic of Ireland. They gave 54,600 hours' listening time on the telephone helpline last year and this equates to more than 1,050 hours per week of listening to people in crisis. This time is expected to increase in 2011 because of the economic situation. Samaritans offers a 24-hour service and the commitment of the volunteers should be acknowledged. The service provides emotional support and is beneficial to the community in general.

I refer also to organisations offering crisis helplines such as Pieta House and SoSad Ireland, Rural Stress helpline, the LGBT support helpline and 1life. Organisations such as Console, Living Links and Barnardos provide bereavement counselling. Other organisations provide support for dealing with other suffering and include Suicide or Survive, Shine, Aware and Grow, both of which deal with depression, the national self-harm network, Bodywhys, which provides help for those with eating disorders, and the Eating Disorder Resource Centre of Ireland. I would like to have paid tribute to many more organisations but time does not allow.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  The Sinn Féin motion maintains that the community and voluntary sector is being hollowed out by decisions made by the current Administration. I suggest we cast an eye over that party’s record in the North in recent times and it will be clear that Sinn Féin is involved in implementing swingeing cuts to the community and voluntary sector resulting in job losses, a reduction in service and distress to vulnerable people. As recently as 22 September, the Department of Social Development in the North confirmed that it had reduced by 25% its funding to infrastructural support organisations providing services to the voluntary and community sector at regional level. This will have a direct and detrimental effect on the community and voluntary sector across the Border, yet Sinn Féin Party members attend this House and pontificate about the need to preserve services here while it is signing off on cuts affecting the most vulnerable across the Border.

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  The Labour Party should go to the North and organise there.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  I refer to a statement by a Sinn Féin MLA who spoke about these reductions in the Northern Ireland Assembly just two weeks ago.

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  Go up and organise.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy should speak through the Chair, please.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  It states, “The cuts will bring about significant changes to current support arrangements and a clear emphasis on rationalisation”. Sinn Féin, along with its coali[492]tion partner and friend, the DUP, has overseen cuts to community and voluntary sector services in the North this year, including the withdrawal in March of 25% of funding or £440,000 from Action Mental Health, a leading mental health charity. This will cost 21 jobs and it means that 500 fewer people will be able to avail of mental health services. I remind the House that last Monday was world mental health day. There has been a cut in funding of £200,000 to the Family Fund, an organisation which provides grants to low income families raising severely disabled or seriously ill children; a reduction in funding of 50% for Down Community Transport in respect of its Dial a Lift service which provides door-to-door travel for individuals living in rural areas who are unable or find it difficult to avail of public transport. Three jobs have gone and the total cuts amount to £350,000. The Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative has received a cut in funding of £200,000 or 30% of its original funding. This will result in another job loss and a reduction in education for the long-term unemployed.

I could go on but what I wish to highlight is the hypocrisy of a party that comes into this House with no cost-benefit analysis for any of its policies, with no realistic economic view of how this country should emerge from the current economic mess in which it finds itself, a very selective amnesia by that party who voted in this House for the blanket guarantee for——

(Interruptions).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Order, please.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  That blanket guarantee is the reason this country is in the mess it is in.

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  The Deputy’s party implemented the blanket guarantee to which he refers.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  That party embraced the blanket guarantee——

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  The Deputy’s party is in power.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  ——and it is because of its actions that this country is in the mess it is. I find it galling that Sinn Féin Party members can come in here after implementing swingeing cuts——

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  We are here because we were elected.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  ——with the most right-wing party in Europe, the DUP and then lecture this Administration.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  It is all Sinn Féin’s fault.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  I wish to share time with Deputies Seán Crowe, Jonathan O’Brien, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Michael Colreavy and Martin Ferris.

Earlier this year, the Minister of State with special responsibility for housing, Deputy Willie Penrose, launched a housing policy statement. It proclaimed an intention to radically change public housing in Ireland but it set out nothing of the sort. Beneath the mealy-mouthed rhetoric were more of the failed policies of Fianna Fáil which had allowed social housing stock to dwindle and deteriorate. One policy which was not new but which was to be pursued with renewed vigour was the shifting of responsibility for housing our citizens further away from the Government and into the hands of the voluntary sector. This is bad government and a blatant shirking of its duty by this Government. It has been made even worse in light of the [493]Government extension of the austerity it has wrought on the ordinary struggling people. It has heaped this arduous task on voluntary organisations, one they cannot hope to deliver.

Fine organisations such as Respond, Threshold and many others are being charged with providing housing but with less funding. Where does the Government think this money will come from? It is quick to pass the buck but even quicker to slash with the knife. Social housing continues to be abandoned by the State and these cuts to the voluntary sector show that the Government does not consider the housing of its citizens to be a priority or even an issue. It is more important to our Government to receive the pat on the head from the troika than to serve its citizens and to respect their rights.

Respond has called for a reallocation of NAMA funds to the voluntary housing sector. This would be a positive action but the social dividend promised from NAMA must be part of the State provision of social housing in order to meet the great need which persisted through the boom years but which was ignored. It has now been ignored for very different reasons but ignored nonetheless. The NAMA project must support housing for the most disadvantaged and marginalised citizens who have been denied this right. It must support people living in completely unacceptable conditions, such as Dolphin House and St. Teresa’s Gardens. It must support regeneration which has been stalled in places like O’Devaney Gardens, Ballymun and Limerick. It must do so with a dedicated Government strategy of public provision as a matter of right.

My own community will feel these cuts very hard. Over the past number of years there has been a sustained attack on community and voluntary groups throughout the State. These attacks have been justified on the grounds that the economic quagmire in which we find ourselves requires it. My own area of Dublin North West has been badly hit with the loss of community projects and workers on the ground in Ballymun, Finglas, Santry and Whitehall. Luckily we have a large number of voluntary groups, residents associations and volunteers who contribute an untold wealth of experience and help to fill the void that has been created by these cutbacks already imposed. This sector supports approximately 50,000 full-time jobs and a large number of part-time jobs, as well as thousands of volunteers. Year after year, the drugs task force has faced cuts of from 10% to 13% in its funding. This has resulted in a serious loss of projects and staff to deal with the crisis of drugs in our community. It is also a serious blow to those looking for help and rehabilitation as a result of addiction. The Finglas-Cabra drugs task force is one of the lowest funded in the State, yet we have one of the worst areas in terms of needs.

Community projects which employ people on CE schemes are also under attack. The Den and the Finglas Youth Resource Centre in Finglas, the CDP in Ballymun and the Ballymun Community Network are all bearing the brunt of these austerity policies. Can the Government not see the road these cuts are leading us down in pursuit of the economy? Once more, the Government is abandoning the community. We still do not have enough funding to deal with the serious issue of suicide. More resources are needed to highlight and extend round the clock services for people at risk of taking their lives. These cuts leave desperate people in even more desperate situations. The result is easy to see and is devastating to our communities and families. If the Government fails our communities, our most vulnerable and our most marginalised, it throws a generation on the scrap heap and shows it has learned nothing and never will.

Deputy Seán Crowe: Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  The main purpose of the debate was to focus on the growing problem that affects the whole community and voluntary sector. This debate is not about a row between us and Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Labour Party or anyone else. It is about focusing on what is going on or not going on within the sector.

[494]We all know from our communities that there is a problem of morale for many of the groups dealing with the community. When community groups go looking for support, they find the doors closed or find there is no strategic plan in place to deal with the problems that exist. We know there is a growing drugs problem in this city, but how do we respond to that problem? How does the State respond to that problem? It cuts back services for people in need of support. That is the reality. I know that because I am involved with many groups in my area. I know, for instance, that children go to school hungry in this city and across the land. How are we, as a country and a Government, responding to that? We are certainly not supporting those groups or individuals who are helping the children who are going to school hungry. The official response from the Government is that we do not have the money. However, we know from Barnados, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, CDP groups and those involved in the community that children go to school hungry.

What is the response from the Government? We hear criticism from Government that we are not involved in this in the North, but the reverse is the case. I understand that some €80 million was ring-fenced for funding there, but more funding was provided because of the realisation that we are in a recession and more people want to use the services. Anyone with any sense of logic would know this is the wrong time to be closing down services. It is the wrong time to be shutting down community services when more people are looking for support.

Deputy Ellis spoke about how the cuts affect drugs projects. Why are we cutting services to the bone at a time when more people are looking for help and services? People are asking how much more they must bear and how many more cuts they must face. We want a response on that from the Government. Will we see more cuts? If so, what is the outlook for society? We have seen from other jurisdictions what happens when leadership and expertise are removed from communities. That is the big concern of our communities. People who have spent their lives working with young people and the elderly in their communities say they have never seen things as bad.

This is not an attack on the Minister or anyone else. There is a responsibility on all in this House to come up with solutions. One of our solutions is to support these services for the future. Does this make sense to the Minister of State and to anyone in the Labour Party, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or the Technical Group? This is what the people want to hear. They want to hear our plans for this sector, but we have not heard any of that in this debate.

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  Everyone is aware of the role of the community and voluntary sector and the vital part it plays in providing essential services throughout the State. Workers in this sector work with some of our most disadvantaged communities in trying to build a better and more equal society, which is something everyone in this House should support. All Deputies in the House are aware of the valuable service the sector provides and are also aware the sector has been forced to absorb the cuts inflicted on it in previous budgets. As matters stand, all the indications are that the community and voluntary sector must, once again, face further cuts in the upcoming budget.

While the sector is varied and diverse, a number of common strengths are replicated among the thousands of organisations throughout the sector. By and large, the various organisations are cost effective. They deliver local solutions to local problems and deliver essential services the State has failed to deliver. These services include child care, care of the elderly, youth work, social inclusion, drug rehabilitation, disability, and education and training programmes. From 2009 to 2010, the community and voluntary sector suffered headline cuts of between 18% and 20%. That trend has continued and will continue into the future. These organisations and [495]workers have been forced to absorb these cuts through redundancies, three-day weeks, pay cuts and service reductions.

If we speak to any workers in the sector, they will confirm that we have already passed the point where the cuts have resulted in the loss of vital services the State does not provide. These organisations were providing these services to the most disadvantaged communities. They will also say that they cannot absorb any further cuts. In fact, we need to reverse some of the cuts that have taken place. Unless we do so, more people will fall by the wayside. The cuts are having a huge impact on the fabric of our communities which are already trying to deal with the fall-out from unemployment, increased drug abuse, early school leavers. They cannot take any more. Make no mistake, further cuts will only serve to sacrifice our long-term social and economic development for short-term savings.

Deputy Dara Murphy spoke about the problem we have with drugs. This is a problem in Cork, like in every other city and town throughout the State. Many community projects throughout the country do great work on drug prevention to help combat the spread of drug abuse. Whether through intervention or education, the work they do plays a vital role in combatting the spread of drugs. Every time their funding is cut, this increases the chance that more of our young people — the people we should rely on to turn the economy around — will slip through the net and end up abusing drugs. In the long term, this will cost the State more.

I would like to touch briefly on the policy which saw the control of the CDPs taken from the voluntary boards of management and placed under the direct control of the partnership programmes. That process was flawed from the beginning and should never have taken place. A recent study by the community workers co-operative found that 45% of CDPs found the whole process cumbersome and not well thought out. Only 24% found the transition a smooth process. Many people within the CDP structure did not believe this policy was in the best interests of communities.

  7 o’clock

All it has done is hollow out local democracy by disempowering those at the heart of local communities, the decision-makers within their local organisations. We have seen local voluntary boards being wound up, staff being let go and assets transferred to partnerships. The CDPs had the option of refusing to participate in the model but one of the consequences of refusal was that funding would be stopped. In our constituency of Cork North-Central, Deputy Dara Murphy knows that one such project went down that road. It was one of the most successful CDPs on the northside of Cork city and provided services to people ranging from five and six years of age, in after-school programmes, to the elderly. It is now operating for two hours a day because funding has been cut and the organisation refused to transfer assets, which the local community had raised funds for and purchased. The local community elected a board of management to operate the assets on behalf of the community. For refusing to transfer the assets and cede control to the partnerships, funding was cut. Who has suffered? The local community has suffered. The model is flawed and needs to be reviewed.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Many years ago, I listened to a speech delivered to the then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, comparing the after effects of the potato famine with the unemployment crisis of the 1980s. It was not so much the famine as the cholera and disease that followed that devastated the people. It was not so much the unemployment as the drugs crisis in the inner cities, the despair and the lack of hope. As the economy was turning around, the Taoiseach was asked how he would move people from a kick in the teeth to a kick in the backside to get back to work.

People talk the talk about charity as if they were Victorians but they do not really get the real lives of people. Maybe they are paid too much money, eat in fancy restaurants and have a lifestyle that disconnects them from real people. Tonight I listened to a presentation from [496]community activists in this city. The real impact of cuts to the community and voluntary sector, as my friend Deputy Crowe pointed out, is on children who do not have food in their stomachs and educational supports and where resources that fill the gaps left by this economic crisis are taken away. In this State, policy ensures the reckless and unbelievably wealthy gamblers from other European and international states are paid every cent they are owed while we literally leave people starve in this country. We literally rob resources from the people in community development who are at the coalface. The former Minister of State with responsibility for community affairs in 2008 to 2009, John Curran, said the following about the work of community development projects:

Within a year, his Government brought in policies that destroyed community development projects in some cases or integrated them into partnership or development groups where they lost their focus on helping the most disadvantaged. It is in the style of McCarthy, our own McCarthy in this State, who likes to privatise public resources and take away amenities from the most disadvantaged working-class communities and cities and isolated rural communities. These are the policies being implemented.

To listen to a Labour Deputy come in here like a highlander with a hit-and-run speech about resources in the Six Counties makes me sick because for decades the Labour Party showed no interest in the people of the Six Counties. They criminalised republicans who stood up for their interests. Eddie Fullerton, a councillor from my town of Buncrana who was murdered by loyalists, was turned away from this building due to the censorship policies of the Labour Party at the time. I listened to the Labour Party Member preach about his care for the people of the North, as if one can compare this to a devolved Assembly in the Six Counties that must rely on funding from the central source like a town council or county council. The Assembly has no sovereignty or control over its affairs and it is being compared to this so-called sovereign institution, where the Labour Party and Fine Gael were elected by disadvantaged, working class communities in many cases, with hope in their hearts that they would allow Deputies to come into this Chamber and fight for their communities. This is nonsense, obfuscation and distraction. Every time Sinn Féin raises issues about our communities and the impact cuts and austerity have on real people’s lives, we must listen to this hit-and-run obfuscation and nonsense. At some stage, it must stop and the Labour Party must understand that it represents the same communities I represent.

I say this to the one Labour Party Deputy out of almost 40 who is present in the Chamber to listen to this debate. I do not preach to him and I do not say I am better than him but I appeal to him to start to fight for the communities he represents and do justice for the people who put the Labour Party here. After five years, the Labour Party should be able to say that it stood up to the right-wing agenda that may exist in Fine Gael, defended their communities and defended them against privatisation, and a sustained and strategic attack by right-wing parties on community and voluntary groups who defend the most disadvantaged in this country. Let that be the legacy of the Labour Party after five years and let it not be that the Labour Party coalesced with right-wing influences——

[497]Deputy Michael Conaghan: Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  I do not need lectures from Deputy Mac Lochlainn about fighting for communities.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  ——to attack, once again, the most disadvantaged people in this State. The Labour Party should make up its mind who it stands for, whether this is for the people who put its Members into this Chamber, or to kowtow to right-wing interests in this State and outside the State. The Labour Party should make up its mind and stop giving us this fog about the North of Ireland.

Deputy Dara Murphy: Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  His point was that Sinn Féin is perfectly willing to cut in government in Northern Ireland and to preach south of the Border. The point was about governance rather than history.

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  His point was wrong.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Those listening to this debate must be very disappointed. We tabled this motion to try to stop some of the worst ravages that have been, and are being, inflicted on the community sector. Instead of having rational debate and putting forward just cause or showing empathy with the people working in that sector and those who receive the services of the sector, the parties in government have only childish abuse. It is not good enough.

I say to the Ministers and Deputies in government that three words describe everything that is wrong with what they are doing — equality of pain. The previous Government and this Government said there must be equality of pain and that everybody must share the pain. There should not be equality of pain until there is equality in the first place. In this nation, we do not have equality. We are a long way from equality. A charge was made earlier that Sinn Féin calls for services to be restored to the most vulnerable and for cutbacks to the most vulnerable in this society to be reversed but that it does not produce an alternative. That is false. Sinn Féin called for Deputies’ and Ministers’ salaries to be reduced dramatically. We called for an upper limit on the income of those at the senior levels of the Civil Service and public service. We called for a special tax rate for those who earn multiples of the average industrial wage, but Deputy Perry and Deputy Murphy voted against that. They must not say we did not present alternatives. We did present alternatives, but the Deputies turned them down. It was their call and their choice. They have the majority, and they did it.

Deputy Dara Murphy: Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  As Sinn Féin did in Northern Ireland.

Deputy Sandra McLellan: Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  Here we go again.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  We are calling for Deputies to support those working in the community sector and, most of all, to support those people who depend on the community sector for their quality of life. The Deputies are in their clinics, walking the streets and talking to people; they know how hard things are for many people and they know the desperation that is out there. They know that what the Government is doing in their name is wrong, but they blame the troika and the previous Administration and they hide behind the party whip. They say “I know we promised during the election campaign that we would do certain things, but we cannot do them now because the troika will not let us.” Equality of pain is the issue. Every Deputy in this House, irrespective of party, has an opportunity tonight. They have their minds and they have their conscience, and they have a finger that can push the red button or the green button. I ask them to take courage and do the right thing — vote against the Government’s nonsensical amendment and vote in favour of this good, pro-people motion from Sinn Féin. I ask them to do the right thing.

[498]Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  I wish to share time with Deputy Healy-Rae.

Build 4 Life is a voluntary organisation founded and run by the families and friends of cystic fibrosis patients in Kerry and Cork. It is one of the few registered charities, if not the only one, in this country in which every penny donated goes to the intended project. The volunteers who run the organisation do not even claim expenses, and no administration costs are deducted from donations. To date the charity has raised millions and has provided an outpatient unit for cystic fibrosis sufferers at Cork University Hospital. It is currently working towards developing an inpatient unit in the same hospital, which will cost €2.3 million. It has raised €2 million so far, and it hoped its application for national lottery funding, which it sent to the office of the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, at the start of this year, will provide it with the final €300,000. Although the application was initially submitted a year ago, it had to be resubmitted in January 2011, and to date the charity has not received an official decision. However, it has been told unofficially by a public representative that it will get nothing.

Many of the volunteers have given years of their lives to this project and feel this decision is a kick in the stomach to them and to the 25% of cystic fibrosis sufferers in Ireland who happen to live in the catchment area of Cork University Hospital, that is, in Cork, Kerry and south Tipperary. This unit is desperately needed and would be provided without any cost to the Exchequer. Of the €3.8 million, all that is required is €300,000 in national lottery funding that the Minister has within his gift. Build 4 Life cannot get over the hypocrisy of the new Minister who, when he sat on this side of the House, castigated the former Minister, Mary Harney, time and again about the state of the health service and issues such as this. Yet when he is on the other side of the House and has within his gift the possibility of giving €300,000 to get this unit up and running, he has refused to give that money. With the amount of money that has been spent on materials and the construction of this facility, Build 4 Life has paid almost €400,000 in VAT.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  The Deputy will have to conclude soon if he wishes to give two minutes to Deputy Healy-Rae.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  I ask everyone here tonight to put pressure on the Minister to ensure he gives the funding necessary to finish this project, which is well worthwhile.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  I thank Deputy Ferris and acknowledge the presence of the Minister of State.

The important role played by the community and voluntary sector in Ireland has been highlighted in a number of reports. The 2000 White Paper on the relationship between the State and the sector noted: “An active Community and Voluntary sector contributes to a democratic, pluralist society, provides opportunities for the development of decentralised...structures and fosters a climate in which the quality of life can be enhanced for all.” The 2006 National Economic and Social Council strategy, entitled People, Productivity and Purpose, stressed the need for healthy community and voluntary organisations as an important requirement for overall economic and social development. Reflecting similar sentiments, the national partnership agreement Towards 2016 stated: “The Government recognises that community and voluntary activity forms the very core of a vibrant and inclusive society.” The Centre for Non-profit Management in Trinity College estimates that there are almost 25,000 non-profit organisations in Ireland, although the definition of a non-profit organisation used by the CNM is broader than the community and voluntary sector as it includes all non-profit bodies.

The mantra of this Government is value for money, and rightly so. In this difficult economic time, every Member of the House has a responsibility to ensure that all decisions are made with this mantra in mind. Also, the Government has a duty to give due consideration to all [499]requests for support from the voluntary sector. Only last week, as Deputy Ferris rightly pointed out, a request for support from the Build 4 Life cystic fibrosis group was turned down. This group has raised more than €2 million to fund the provision of an isolation unit in Cork University Hospital. The hospital management has said that the total cost will be €2.3 million, and ward 5B, which is currently lying idle, has been identified as the location of the unit.

It is a disgrace that the request for funding has been turned down. The irony is that if the request for €300,000 in funding had been granted, there would have been a net gain of €450,000 to the Exchequer in VAT and other taxes, there would have been a purpose-built unit in Cork University Hospital for the treatment of cystic fibrosis sufferers, and the taxpayer would most certainly have got value for money. I ask the Minister to revisit this request and to appreciate that it is a win-win situation in which the Government gets value for money and, more importantly, cystic fibrosis sufferers get a proper treatment facility.

Finally, I would like to point out——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Sorry, Deputy.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Just one point.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  I must call on the Minister of State.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Last week——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  The Deputy is very persuasive.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  ——there was an excellent editorial about this very subject in The Kerryman.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Hear, hear.

Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy John Perry): Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  In his remarks to the House yesterday evening, Deputy Penrose underlined the Government’s strong appreciation of the role of the community and voluntary sector in Irish society. As a practitioner who in 1990 set up one of Ireland’s first community economic development companies and is still active in this area, I am very much aware of the critical role of the community and voluntary sector across all strata of society, and I speak based on my knowledge of this area.

As many Deputies are aware, 2011 has been designated the European year of volunteering, and it is appropriate that we pay tribute in this House to the countless active citizens within our communities. These volunteers give of their time freely, and it is important we acknowledge that. They provide care and support services across the community in large and well-established organisations as well as small, informal groupings in every village in the country. They measure their success not by making a profit but by making a difference.

The priority of the Government will be to continue to support valuable front-line services within our communities while reducing overheads and back-office administration costs and ensuring value for money. I draw attention to one scheme referred to on a number of occasions during yesterday’s debate: the scheme to support national organisations in the community and voluntary sector, which is operated by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. This scheme has an annual budget of €4 million and provides multi-annual core costs to 64 national community and voluntary organisations, including many organisations involved in advocacy. In this year’s round of funding under the scheme, there were 149 applications, of which 64 were successful. The successful applicants were approved following an [500]open and merit-based competitive process, with a built-in right of appeal. I assure the House that all successful applicants were chosen strictly on their merits. The Minister, Deputy Phil Hogan, rejects any suggestion that an organisation would not qualify for funding under the programme on any other basis.

The programme for Government commits to a review of services at local level in order to improve service delivery for the citizen. This involves sharing and devolving responsibilities down to a much lower level. This is not change for change’s sake but is designed to improve the quality of service the public receives and to ensure funds are spent well in every area. Local development companies have been chosen by the Department as the main delivery agents for the local and community development programme, LCDP, for which the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has committed funding of €63.4 million this year. Representatives from a range of voluntary, statutory and community sectors, together with the social partners, constitute the board of directors of these companies, which will work collaboratively to effect change locally.

Despite suggestions to the contrary yesterday, there is no embargo on community employment schemes filling vacancies in the Dublin area or elsewhere in the country. The number of places available under the scheme was increased in 2010 and remains at that level for 2011. Local circumstances and, in particular, the need to maintain places designated for rehabilitated drug misusers under the national drugs strategy can lead to delays in recruitment to vacancies that arise during the usual course of operation of a scheme. Some 1,000 places are ring-fenced for recovering drug misusers for this purpose and there is no curtailment or reduction in these places.

The Government does not see philanthropy and fund-raising as a substitute for State funding but rather as an untapped potential which can further support the not-for-profit sector. The Government fully subscribes to the importance of the implementation of the North-South consultative forum and all of the other provisions of the Good Friday Agreement. This is an issue which requires a firm commitment from the Northern Ireland Executive to proceed.

The Government affirms and supports the voluntary efforts of tens of thousands of people throughout the country. By allowing local communities a greater say in their future, we expect they will emerge from these difficulties more resilient than ever. From my own experience of having established one of Ireland’s first community economic regeneration companies, in which I am still actively involved, it is about empowering people. As a former Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, I also know it is about getting value for money for the State in terms of the services we deliver.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín  Zoom on Peadar Tóibín  I am delighted to have an opportunity to speak on this important motion. At a time of Government-sponsored economic austerity the community and voluntary sector is the last line of defence for many communities. In many cases it provides the glue that keeps families, communities and society together, often providing the services which the State and private sector cannot or will not provide. The community and voluntary sector has a long and proud history of providing services and employment in some of the most marginalised sectors of our society. In some parts of this city it is the largest employer.

I was interested to see the polish the Minister of State tried to put on the situation. Brian Harvey, an independent social policy analyst, has estimated that at its height in 2008, the community and voluntary sector employed some 53,000 people. That number has fallen in recent years and Mr. Harvey has projected it will fall by a further 5,000 by the end of this year as a result of Government cuts. That is the equivalent of ten TalkTalks being shut down, not [501]because of foreign competition but because of a Government decision which is the individual responsibility of all Government Members.

The Government may feel justified in blaming Fianna Fáil for this, but it must make the decisions now and its fingerprints will be all over the outcome for the sector, be it its growth and development or its destruction. The Government should, as a matter of urgency in these straitened times, prioritise the community and voluntary sector and ensure services are restored to pre-2008 levels. Services should be expanded to meet needs. This can be done by immediately reversing the budget cuts and desisting from putting State money into the pockets of private bondholders. It can be done, for example, through the expansion of FÁS’s community employment scheme. There are many great examples of the good work being done throughout the State, particularly under the special CE scheme which employs 1,000 people who are in recovery from drug addiction and has played an invaluable role in the national drugs strategy and the national drugs rehabilitation strategy. Based on these successes, we call on the Government to expand the number of special CE places to 1,500.

The response from the Government to long-term unemployment has been wholly unacceptable. The introduction of Tús as some type of community-based employment initiative is deeply concerning. It does not offer genuine training opportunities in many instances and those employed through the scheme are open to abuse. Several cases have been reported to trade unions and are currently being investigated. Instead, the focus should be on increasing CE places from 22,000 to 40,000 in order to provide training and access to education and to facilitate the staffing of community crèches, youth projects, senior citizen services and community development projects. The Government must take the decision to support individuals who have been marginalised for years and are most vulnerable to cuts.

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government must respond positively to the Labour Relations Court finding which recommended that the State has a responsibility to those employed in the community and voluntary sector. Directly linked to this is the right of employees in the sector to collective bargaining. It is a travesty that nearly 50,000 workers are being denied this basic human right. Moreover, it is in direct contravention of the UN Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  Táim lán sásta deis a bheith agam caint san díospóireacht seo. There is something incredibly and predictably depressing in the Government’s position as articulated by the Minister of State, Deputy John Perry, this evening and by the Minister of State, Deputy Willie Penrose, last night. They tell us they want value for money — that is code for more cutbacks. They tell us they want to improve service provision — that is code for job losses. Finally, to beat Banagher and put the final gloss on it all, the Minister of State, Deputy Perry, tells us that in the face of cutbacks, the loss of services and an economic catastrophe, taking further pain will mean the community and voluntary sector and the communities it serves will emerge more resilient. It is mind-blowing stuff.

I cannot take seriously a Government or Minister who tells communities which are historically deprived and now under great pressure that more pain is good for them. Here is the newsflash — pain is not good; pain is bad. The suffering is real and the cutbacks are devastating services. We will oppose the Government amendment to our motion. It is a disgrace, with its laughable references to “reducing duplication” and streamlining. That undertaking is neither genuine nor credible. The amendment is simply code words and cover for the cuts that have been imposed and the further cuts that are proposed. The Government, by way of this amendment, brazenly abdicates its responsibility and hands it over to philanthropists and to corporate, private money. The amendment makes no reference and offers no commitment in respect of ring-fencing or protecting funding. That tells the tale in terms of the Government’s agenda.

[502]The Minister of State, Deputy Penrose, told us last night that he cannot ring-fence moneys from the dormant accounts fund for the community and voluntary sector. He told us — and this is astonishing —“It must be stressed that moneys disbursed from the fund increase Government debt levels”. It is beyond my comprehension how any Minister, in particular a Labour Party Minister, can stand over that kind of mechanical, bean-counter response to the funding crisis in the community and voluntary sector. I hope the Minister understands that a simple amendment to the legislation could move the bulk of the dormant accounts fund liabilities off the State’s balance sheet. It is not rocket science. It can be done.

Politics is all about choices and for us in Sinn Féin it has to be about choices that are fair. The dormant accounts fund is made up of citizens’ money. It makes sense, therefore, that that money be ring-fenced and put back into the communities where citizens live.

Last night the Minister, Deputy Penrose, mentioned philanthropy 15 times, and this Minister has done it again this evening. Fifteen times we were told that the philanthropists will come in and save the day but not once did he make a comment or recommendation or offer a view in respect of ongoing funding. I understand that Fine Gael has a slash and burn approach to this sector. Small government is what it does and it is pretty much every woman, man and child for themselves unless one is a political adviser to one of the bigwigs, and then it seems that money is not a problem. However, the Labour Party, whose members are not present, know full well the devastation facing communities the length and breadth of this State and they know that particularly here in Dublin because we meet the Labour Party TDs and Ministers at all of the community events, the public meetings and the forums. Yet, despite a long-term relationship with these groups, Labour Ministers are turning their backs on this sector and, in turn, on the communities they serve.

In my own constituency the Inner City Partnership was closed down last year and the Labour Ministers have done nothing to right that wrong. To add insult to injury, community development sector workers are being laid off across the board with few or no rights and entitlements and the mere discussion of the budget causes fear and uncertainty.

The irony is that many of those communities voted for Labour with an expectation that its members would stand up for their right to fair play and that they would protect them from the worse excesses of Fine Gael in Government but week after week Labour Ministers sit on the Government benches dogmatically enforcing what we all thought was Fine Gael policy. Labour in government has thus far failed spectacularly to protect the very people it purports to represent. It pursues an agenda of cuts at all costs while feathering it own nests with disgracefully high salaries but that seems to sit okay with them.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  The same as the Deputy’s own salary.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Order please.

A Deputy:  He is back.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  The community and voluntary sector steps in and intervenes where the Government has absented itself. The sole reason this sector is needed in the first instance is because the Government and the State have failed to protect the most vulnerable in our society. Inner city communities like the one I represent are facing a drugs crisis not seen since the 1980s. I hope the Deputies in this House realise that. As my colleagues have said, children routinely go to school hungry, some without books. Scores of women face the brutality of domestic violence. Young people are out of work. Men, women and children cannot use computers and have literacy issues. People wonder if they will ever work again, and the [503]numbers lost to suicide increase year on year but the Government’s response to that is to give the community and voluntary sector a rap on the knuckles and to tell them, as the Minister of State, Deputy Penrose said, that they must adapt to the new economic realities.

Do the Ministers of this Government and their backbenchers have any sense of adapting to the social realities in which our citizens live or do they even care any more? The Government wants community workers, the very people who commit their lives to fixing the State’s failure to properly educate, to protect and to house its citizens, to spend their time targeting a more diverse range of supports and cultivating relationships with the business community. It is difficult to believe that in a number of short months the Labour Party in particular has become so distanced from the very communities that put its members on the Government benches.

The community and voluntary sector provides essential services that the State and the private sector have failed or are unwilling to deliver. More than 7,500 groups provide these services to our children, our elderly population and people with disabilities and ill health. Their work is heroic, and I salute them. Their work is patriotic, and I salute them all the more because these people are the champions of their communities. We make no apology to anybody in saying that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them.

Deputy Dara Murphy: Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  But not in Northern Ireland.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  Not in the North.

(Interruptions).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Order.

Deputy Dara Murphy: Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  Shoulder to shoulder down here and cutting in the North. It is very hypocritical.

(Interruptions).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Please, Deputies.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  The challenge for Government, in addition to educating itself on the system of governance 100 miles up the road, is to put its money where its mouth is as regards this sector. The Minister of State said that he understands the sector and that he applauds it. He used the rhetoric but rhetoric will not cut it.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  It is not rhetoric. We know it. The Deputy is full of rhetoric.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  The sector and the citizens will not be satisfied with crocodile tears or tea and sympathy. We want our funding. We want our services. We want the Minister to take his hands and his austerity off the necks of the people——

Deputy Dara Murphy: Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  In the Republic only.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  ——of working class communities the length and breadth of this State.

Amendment put.

[504]The Dáil divided: Tá, 88; Níl, 45.

Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Tom Barry  Zoom on Tom Barry  Barry, Tom.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ray Butler  Zoom on Ray Butler  Butler, Ray.
Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Buttimer, Jerry. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Byrne, Eric. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Coffey, Paudie. Information on Áine Collins  Zoom on Áine Collins  Collins, Áine.
Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  Conaghan, Michael. Information on Sean Conlan  Zoom on Sean Conlan  Conlan, Seán.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul J. Information on Ciara Conway  Zoom on Ciara Conway  Conway, Ciara.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  Daly, Jim. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Patrick Deering  Zoom on Patrick Deering  Deering, Pat.
Information on Regina Doherty  Zoom on Regina Doherty  Doherty, Regina. Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal.
Information on Robert Dowds  Zoom on Robert Dowds  Dowds, Robert. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Alan Farrell  Zoom on Alan Farrell  Farrell, Alan. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  Ferris, Anne. Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances.
Information on Peter Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Peter. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Brendan Griffin  Zoom on Brendan Griffin  Griffin, Brendan. Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Hannigan, Dominic.
Information on Noel Harrington  Zoom on Noel Harrington  Harrington, Noel. Information on Simon Harris  Zoom on Simon Harris  Harris, Simon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Martin Heydon  Zoom on Martin Heydon  Heydon, Martin. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Kevin Humphreys  Zoom on Kevin Humphreys  Humphreys, Kevin. Information on Derek Keating  Zoom on Derek Keating  Keating, Derek.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Seán Kenny  Zoom on Seán Kenny  Kenny, Seán.
Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne  Kyne, Seán. Information on Anthony Lawlor  Zoom on Anthony Lawlor  Lawlor, Anthony.
Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán. Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  Lyons, John.
Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  McCarthy, Michael. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Nicky McFadden  Zoom on Nicky McFadden  McFadden, Nicky. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Tony McLoughlin  Zoom on Tony McLoughlin  McLoughlin, Tony. Information on Michael McNamara  Zoom on Michael McNamara  McNamara, Michael.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
Information on Michelle Mulherin  Zoom on Michelle Mulherin  Mulherin, Michelle. Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  Murphy, Dara.
Information on Eoghan Murphy  Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  Murphy, Eoghan. Information on Gerald Nash  Zoom on Gerald Nash  Nash, Gerald.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Derek Nolan  Zoom on Derek Nolan  Nolan, Derek. Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on Patrick O'Donovan  Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Patrick.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Joe O'Reilly  Zoom on Joe O'Reilly  O’Reilly, Joe.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John. Information on Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  Phelan, Ann.
Information on John Paul Phelan  Zoom on John Paul Phelan  Phelan, John Paul. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Ryan, Brendan.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Sean. Information on Arthur Spring  Zoom on Arthur Spring  Spring, Arthur.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna.
Information on Brian Walsh  Zoom on Brian Walsh  Walsh, Brian. Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  White, Alex.



Níl
Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Adams, Gerry. Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Boyd Barrett, Richard.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Colreavy, Michael. Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Cowen, Barry.
Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán. Information on Clare Daly  Zoom on Clare Daly  Daly, Clare.
Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Doherty, Pearse. Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Donnelly, Stephen.
Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Ellis, Dessie. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Flanagan, Luke ‘Ming’. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Sean.
Information on Tom Fleming  Zoom on Tom Fleming  Fleming, Tom. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on John Halligan  Zoom on John Halligan  Halligan, John. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.
Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Michael. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael.
Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig. Information on Charlie McConalogue  Zoom on Charlie McConalogue  McConalogue, Charlie.
Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  McDonald, Mary Lou. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  McLellan, Sandra.
Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  O’Brien, Jonathan.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen.
Information on Thomas Pringle  Zoom on Thomas Pringle  Pringle, Thomas. Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane.
Information on Brian Stanley  Zoom on Brian Stanley  Stanley, Brian. Information on Peadar Tóibín  Zoom on Peadar Tóibín  Tóibín, Peadar.
Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  Wallace, Mick.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Catherine Murphy.

Amendment declared carried.

Question put: “That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided by electronic means.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  As a teller, I would like to give the so-called socialists an opportunity to think again about their view in undermining the community and voluntary sector, and under Standing Order 71, I propose that the vote be taken by other than electronic means.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  As Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh is a teller, under Standing Order 71 he is entitled to call a vote through the lobby.

Question again put: “That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 89; Níl, 45.

Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Tom Barry  Zoom on Tom Barry  Barry, Tom.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ray Butler  Zoom on Ray Butler  Butler, Ray.
Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Buttimer, Jerry. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Byrne, Eric. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Coffey, Paudie. Information on Áine Collins  Zoom on Áine Collins  Collins, Áine.
Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  Conaghan, Michael. Information on Sean Conlan  Zoom on Sean Conlan  Conlan, Seán.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul J. Information on Ciara Conway  Zoom on Ciara Conway  Conway, Ciara.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  Daly, Jim. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Patrick Deering  Zoom on Patrick Deering  Deering, Pat.
Information on Regina Doherty  Zoom on Regina Doherty  Doherty, Regina. Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal.
Information on Robert Dowds  Zoom on Robert Dowds  Dowds, Robert. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Alan Farrell  Zoom on Alan Farrell  Farrell, Alan. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  Ferris, Anne. Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances.
Information on Peter Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Peter. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Brendan Griffin  Zoom on Brendan Griffin  Griffin, Brendan. Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Hannigan, Dominic.
Information on Noel Harrington  Zoom on Noel Harrington  Harrington, Noel. Information on Simon Harris  Zoom on Simon Harris  Harris, Simon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Martin Heydon  Zoom on Martin Heydon  Heydon, Martin. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Kevin Humphreys  Zoom on Kevin Humphreys  Humphreys, Kevin. Information on Derek Keating  Zoom on Derek Keating  Keating, Derek.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Seán Kenny  Zoom on Seán Kenny  Kenny, Seán.
Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne  Kyne, Seán. Information on Anthony Lawlor  Zoom on Anthony Lawlor  Lawlor, Anthony.
Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán. Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen.
Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  Lyons, John. Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  McCarthy, Michael.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Nicky McFadden  Zoom on Nicky McFadden  McFadden, Nicky.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Tony McLoughlin  Zoom on Tony McLoughlin  McLoughlin, Tony.
Information on Michael McNamara  Zoom on Michael McNamara  McNamara, Michael. Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. Information on Michelle Mulherin  Zoom on Michelle Mulherin  Mulherin, Michelle.
Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  Murphy, Dara. Information on Eoghan Murphy  Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  Murphy, Eoghan.
Information on Gerald Nash  Zoom on Gerald Nash  Nash, Gerald. Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Derek Nolan  Zoom on Derek Nolan  Nolan, Derek.
Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Patrick O'Donovan  Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Patrick. Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John.
Information on Joe O'Reilly  Zoom on Joe O'Reilly  O’Reilly, Joe. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John.
Information on Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  Phelan, Ann. Information on John Paul Phelan  Zoom on John Paul Phelan  Phelan, John Paul.
Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Ryan, Brendan. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Sean.
Information on Arthur Spring  Zoom on Arthur Spring  Spring, Arthur. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Brian Walsh  Zoom on Brian Walsh  Walsh, Brian.
Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  White, Alex.  


Níl
Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Adams, Gerry. Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Boyd Barrett, Richard.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Colreavy, Michael. Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Cowen, Barry.
Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán. Information on Clare Daly  Zoom on Clare Daly  Daly, Clare.
Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Doherty, Pearse. Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Donnelly, Stephen.
Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Ellis, Dessie. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Flanagan, Luke ‘Ming’. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Sean.
Information on Tom Fleming  Zoom on Tom Fleming  Fleming, Tom. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on John Halligan  Zoom on John Halligan  Halligan, John. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.
Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Michael. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael.
Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig. Information on Charlie McConalogue  Zoom on Charlie McConalogue  McConalogue, Charlie.
Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  McDonald, Mary Lou. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  McLellan, Sandra.
Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  O’Brien, Jonathan.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen.
Information on Thomas Pringle  Zoom on Thomas Pringle  Pringle, Thomas. Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane.
Information on Brian Stanley  Zoom on Brian Stanley  Stanley, Brian. Information on Peadar Tóibín  Zoom on Peadar Tóibín  Tóibín, Peadar.
Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  Wallace, Mick.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Catherine Murphy.

Question again declared carried.

The Dáil adjourned at 7.40 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 13 October 2011.


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