Members of the local Maire Drumm / Kevin Barry Cumann of Republican Sinn Féin Poblachtach , Clondalkin , were present at the ‘CEEDS’ Open Day in Aras Rualach , Clondalkin , at which (some) local politicians were present – all local politicians were invited , but only John Curran (FF) , Paul Gogarty (Greens/Yellows) , Joanne Tuffy (Labour) and Derek Keating (FG) took up the offer , with Frances Fitzgerald (FG) noticable by her absence , having stated that she would be present.
A member of the local RSF Cumann – and a current JI employee – was asked to give an outline at the meeting on just how Community Sector (JI/CE) services have already been badly affected by the cutbacks , which he did, and he then highlighted how any extra cutbacks will almost definitely result in some of those services (ie employees in Community Centres , creches , local sporting organisations etc) closing altogether or being forced to scale back their opening hours and/or services offered , resulting in more suffering in the communities that depend on those services and more ‘anti-social behaviour’ on the part of those who were otherwise being kept occupied when those services were running properly.
That same speaker was recently interviewed (page 5) by a local newspaper regarding this issue , as part of an article dealing with proposed future cutbacks in the overall Community Sector workforce.
The State politicians present were , as expected , ‘in agreement’ with all those who spoke in favour of the work being done by JI and CE workers and who wanted , at the very least, an end to Community Sector cutbacks and previous cuts to be reversed , but it was not lost amongst those present that it is politicians like that who have presided over and/or ‘signed-off’ on previous cutbacks , a fact reflected in the questions put to and comments directed at the politicians in the room , resulting in a ‘Stagg Moment’ for Mr Gogarty , who had to be told that he was not in Leinster House and that his language was not necessary or acceptable.
This is the text of the letter of protest which an RSF representative handed to the politicians present –
Thursday , 9th September 2010.
RE – COMMUNITY SECTOR (JI / CE / SE) CUTBACKS .
The threatened closure of Community Sector-based jobs will be felt in Clondalkin more so than in any other part of the State , as there are more than 50 JI employees alone based in over 30 community organisations in the area. The types of projects supported range from football clubs, community centres, educational services and caring organisations. JI employees provide relevant and essential supports to their sponsor organisations such as childcare, caretaking, maintenance, security and administration/clerical roles and, were it not for the input of JI and CE staff , those projects would not function as they now do , if at all.
Considerable resources have been invested in community development as a means of understanding and responding to social exclusion and poverty in disadvantaged areas and amongst disadvantaged groups in the State.
The history of the Community Development Programme in particular is one of building up a social and economic infrastructure in the most deprived areas – involving the most disadvantaged in a process that allows for ongoing needs assessment and the development of appropriate and effective local responses to social exclusion and poverty issues.
It is easy enough to calculate this investment in financial terms. It is a bit more difficult to quantify the resources invested in terms of the thousands of volunteers and low-paid workers who have given their time and expertise to managing and delivering local projects, services and programmes. These thousand of hours prove excellent value for money and contribute hugely to the stabilisation of the local community structure by providing focus, services and responses where they are needed most.
It is deeply worrying to imagine the inevitable cost that will result if this whole infrastructure is dismantled – if the ‘spaces’ created for the most excluded to participate are closed down – and if all the volunteers and low-paid workers now involved in managing and delivering projects are told they are no longer required.
A good example of the position that JI workers , for instance , now find themselves in can be seen in the fact that , in 2007 , take-home pay (nett pay) averaged €423.86 cents per week whereas today , three years later , that figure is €425.96 cents – two Euro and ten cents more than they earned three years ago. Also , CE workers now earn 12 Euro less per week than they did in 2009.
The Leinster House administration has confirmed that the Community and Voluntary (C and V) sector will be the principal target for severe cuts in the forthcoming December 2010 State budget and, considering that in the time period to date ie between 2009 / 2010, the ‘C and V’ sector suffered headline cuts of 18% – 20% , it is obvious that these organisations have absorbed enough ‘pain’ , as these cuts were obtained through redundancies, 3 day weeks, pay cuts and service reductions.
They were not over-paid employees to start with , and they cannot afford to be made pay for the mistakes and incompetence of State politicians and their business friends.
Republican Sinn Féin Poblachtach in Clondalkin , and throughout this State , will continue to support the Community Sector workers as they face into even more undeserved vicious cutbacks.
Matt Mullen (Chairperson)
Maire Drumm/Kevin Barry Cumann ,
Republican Sinn Féin Poblachtach ,
This blog congratulates the local community in Clondalkin for voicing its objection to the already imposed and future cutbacks , and for doing so directly to some of the politicians responsible , to the Management and Staff of CEEDS and Aras Rualach , to the local JI and CE workers who made sure they were represented at the meeting , and to Republican Sinn Féin Poblachtach for taking the time and making the effort to assist the local community.
In that sense it was a good day all round except , perhaps , for the politicians and especially Mr Gogarty , who got angry at the wrong people for the wrong reason…..
More comment and photographs here (post dated Friday 10th September 2010).