ICTU Community Sector Committee
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
ICTU Community Sector Committee
The ICTU Community Sector committee has will be convening an Assembly for workers employed in the Community and Voluntary sector on:
Monday 18th November
Liberty Hall, Dublin 1
Workers in the sector are facing severe challenges to their jobs and livelihood in the immediate future due to the accumulated impact of continuous funding cuts and the imposition of major policy and programme changes now underway and affecting all jobs and services.
The Community workers assembly will provide an unique opportunity to present the implications of these changes and to ensure that workers are better informed and better organised in response to this challenge.
There will be keynote speakers including Brain Harvey (Researcher), Ann Irwin (CWC), Patricia King (SIPTU Vice President) and Kevin Callaghan (IMPACT).
There will also be an open discussion on the challenges and response of workers to the ongoing threat to jobs and services.
Monday, 24 June 2013
A public forum to discuss “The future of Youth Services in the North Inner City” will be held in the, SWAN Youth Service St Agatha’s hall, Dunne St, D1 on Wednesday 26th of June from 6.00 p.m. – 8.00 p.m. The meeting has been organised by six different projects from the north inner city including the Adventure Sports Project, Ballybough Youth Service, Bradog Regional Youth Service, Lourdes Youth and Community Services, SWAN Youth Service and the Wexford Centre Project.
The meeting will be an opportunity for Youth Service organisations from the North Inner City to showcase what they do and to highlight the detrimental impact of proposed further government cuts to budgets. SIPTU activist Ashling Golden, a youth service worker from the SWAN Centre explained: “Some projects have already lost over 30% of their budgets, are running with no programme budget and have lost workers too, yet demand for youth services has never been higher. This meeting will give the communities most affected by austerity an opportunity to discuss with local TDs and councillors what future there will be for the youth services in their area.”
The meeting will be chaired by UCD researcher and author of the book ‘Sins of the Father’, Conor McCabe, and will also hear contributions from Anastasia Crickley, the Head of the Department of Applied Social Studies in Maynooth and from local young people, parents and youth Workers.TDs who have already confirmed their attendance are Mary Lou McDonald, Paschal Donohoe and Maureen O’Sullivan, while a number of other councillors and representatives from various community and political groups are also expected to be present on the night.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Darragh O’Connor, urged people from the local communities affected to attend on the night.
“The future of youth services is at stake here. Funding cuts are having a major impact on service delivery, and the sector is being de-professionalised by the imposition of part time hours, and fixed term contracts. The right to representation by our members is at the core of many of these issues because to date the voices and concerns of community workers have been ignored by this government,” he said.
Monday, 27 May 2013
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
THE West Cork Development Partnership met with local Labour TD Michael McCarthy
on Friday, 5th April, to express its concerns over plans by Minister for Environment,
Community and Local Government Phil Hogan to radically alter existing funding and management structures for community services.
The West Cork Development Partnership currently delivers a wide range of essential community,tourism, agri-support, eldercare and employment projects across the
West Cork region.The Government’s local government reform document Putting People
First sets out an “alignment” between local authorities and LDCs that will have major impact for both workers and local community services. This alignment is due to be completed in the coming months. More than 50 Local Development Companies based throughout every county in the State currently deliver a range of quality community-based services with regard to enterprise, education and training in areas of disadvantage. Under the Minister’s plans, close to half of these companies will close.
SIPTU claims proposals to “align” these services within local government structures also put millions of euro of European funding at risk. Speaking after the meeting SIPTU Organiser, Trevor Quinn, told Liberty: “Michael McCarthy expressed support for our view that there should be a worker representative added to the Implementation Group charged with overseeing this ‘alignment’. “Michael is chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Environment Culture and Gaeltacht, and so his voice should carry some weight. We welcome his support for SIPTU’s position on the Minister’s plans.”
He added: “If Minister Hogan is intent on making such big decisions about our jobs and our local services the least we would expect is a process of consultation with our union about these plans and their implications for both employees and the communities
they work with.“The bottom-up approach of independent Local Development
Companies has been internationally recognised as a best practice model.
“The independent nature of these companies is also a stipulation for continued receipt of millions of euro in European rural development funding. Any change must consider the interests of communities and workers.”
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Dublin based youth workers and young people met with politicians in Leinster House on Wednesday (27th March) to discuss the impact further cuts will have on the vital work carried out by youth projects in the city.
The meeting followed the announcement that the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, is seeking to impose a further 10% funding cut on City of Dublin Youth Services Board (CDYSB) youth projects.
Sinn Féin TD, Sandra McLellan, facilitated the meeting between both opposition and Government politicians and over 40 young people.
Youth projects help guide the personal and social development of young people, particularly in areas of disadvantage. There are 70 CDYSB youth projects engaging with 28,341 young people. This infrastructure also supports 2,926 volunteers.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Since 2009, projects funded by the CDYSB have experienced a 25% cut in funding, this has resulted in pay cuts, redundancies and a reduction in services for young people. Any further cuts are simply unsustainable.”
He added: “A recent Indecon report showed that for every €1 spent on youth work, the State saves €2.22 on other services. SIPTU members are calling on the minister, Frances Fitzgerald, to recognise the social, personal and economic benefits of youth work and reverse this cut. The union and the young people affected are committed to continuing their campaign until the cuts decision is reversed.”
Friday, 22 March 2013
Date Released: 21 March 2013
Tommy Byrne’s decision to join SIPTU while working as a participant in a CE scheme was instrumental in ensuring his contract was renewed.
Tommy, who works as a caretaker for the Crosserlough Community Development Scheme in county Cavan, was told that his contract would not be renewed at the end of his first year on the scheme.
He said: “I was devastated because there was no work out there and I faced the dole again. I was also in the middle of a level 3 Computer Course to upgrade my skills.
“However, I was told that only 25% of participants could have their contracts extended and that there was nothing that could be done.”
Fortunately, Tommy had attended a meeting with Noreen Parker from SIPTU’s Strategic Organising department a couple of months earlier and had signed up for membership.
He continued: “I worked in Britain for many years as a carpenter and was always in the union, so I didn’t have to think twice about joining.”
Upon hearing that his contract would not be renewed, he immediately contacted Parker and discovered that while there had been changes to the eligibility criteria for remaining on CE, he had in fact every right to an extension.
Tommy raised the issue again and pointed out that he was entitled to receive a further contract.
When he still met with resistance he weighed in with a letter from his union outlining his entitlements.
Tommy also enlisted the help of local TD, Caoimhghim Ó Caoláin, who raised the issue of entitlements for CE workers in the Dáil.
As a result, Tommy’s contract was renewed but he is keen to highlight the issue for other CE workers who may be facing a similar plight.
He told Liberty: “There is a lot of misinformation out there as to who is and who is not entitled to renew on CE.
“Being in SIPTU gave me the confidence to establish what my rights were and to insist that they were respected.”
Tommy found the experience empowering and is now looking forward to playing a bigger role within SIPTU through the newly-established Cavan District Committee.
He added: “I would urge anyone working on a Community Employment scheme to join the union – not just to ensure your own rights are protected but also to support SIPTU’s campaign to maintain CE schemes which have been under sustained attack from government cuts for the last number of years.”
Date Released: 21 March 2013
For some, the words “community radio” bring to mind small, amateur outfits, with a narrow focus on local issues and often with a short life-span.
The reality is very different – if the experience of Near FM is any kind of indicator. Near serves north-east Dublin and is this month celebrating 30 years on the airwaves.
Near started out in March 1983 as a tiny pirate station, tucked away in a disused room in St David’s School in Coolock and has grown to become a solid fixture in Irish broadcasting, with more than 100 volunteer broadcasters and 24-hour radio output.
The Near Media Co-op – now also producing TV and web content – is one of the driving forces in a broad movement that is seeking to build a democratised or “bottom-up” media, owned and produced by ordinary people as an alternative to commercial and state-controlled media.
In listenership terms, Near compares respectably with mainstream broadcasters in its north-east Dublin catchment area, but for those whose passion and work keeps the station going, the question of how many people are listening comes second to the question: who is making the programmes?
Near’s head of radio Sally Galiana, originally from Madrid, told Liberty: “Community radio is open to anyone, but in order to balance under-representation in mainstream media, we target certain groups and help them make programmes – for example, women, migrants, older people, young people and people with disabilities.”
Galiana, who is also vice president of AMARC Europe (the European association of community media broadcasters), said: “Community radio is completely different from mainstream radio. We look at people as potential volunteers rather than as someone to sell to.
“Mainstream media delivers information to people – we let people create their own information and decide what is important.”
As part of its mission to democratise media, Near trains local people in how to make programmes. There are weekly programmes made by Polish, Croatian and Brazilian people, broadcast wholly or partly in their native language.
Since 1995, the co-op has also offered “media literacy” training in north Dublin. Near FM co-founder Jack Byrne describes media literacy as the “first step” in creating an alternative media.
“Media literacy is about understanding the hugely powerful influence of mainstream media in shaping so many aspects of our lives,” said Byrne, who at the time of Near’s founding was a shop steward with the Marine, Port and General Workers’ Union (now part of SIPTU).
He describes media literacy as an “empowerment tool” for all citizens and is currently in discussion with several trade unions to provide media literacy training.
The community radio sector is thriving, with almost 25 stations in the Republic.
A Red C survey in June 2012 found that of adults living in the catchment area of community radio stations, 34% had listened to a community station in the previous week, which translates into 307,000 listeners.
In Near FM’s case, another survey showed that 12,000 people listen to the station in any given week.
Near has also branched into television. The co-op was one of the main players in the setting up of Dublin Community Television (DCTV) in 2008.
Thirty years of broadcasting is quite an achievement, but the folks at Near FM are not resting on their laurels.
The station has just launched a new ‘citizen journalism’ scheme in conjunction with the website boards.ie, which will train people to go out and gather news.
This could eventually feed into another ambitious idea that Near proposed at a major conference it hosted this month to mark its 30th birthday, “a national, alternative news service that would bypass the mainstream media and could be shared between all of the 30-plus community broadcasters on the island of Ireland.”
Watch this media space.
Near FM broadcasts on 90.3 FM and www.near.ie. DCTV is available on NTL channel 802.
For a list of community radio stations in Ireland, see www.craol.ie