Dáil Éireann - Volume 492 - 17 June, 1998
Written Answers. - White Paper on the Voluntary Sector.
Mr. Rabbitte Mr. Rabbitte
40. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the membership and terms of reference of the steering group on the production of the promised White Paper on the voluntary sector; the number of occasions on which the group has met; when the White Paper will be produced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14339/98]
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern) Dermot Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): As indicated in my reply to Questions Nos. 34 and 182 of 29 April and 4 May last, respectively, I have established a Steering Committee drawn from a range of relevant statutory agencies and Departments and from the voluntary sector. As the membership of this group extends to some 20 individuals, representing these agencies and organisations, I will make the names available in a table to be included in the official report of this debate. This steering group has the following terms of reference: to advise on the consultation process with the voluntary and community sector (and with relevant statutory agencies) in relation to the White Paper; to participate in same (i. e. provide speakers as appropriate) and to mediate and comment on feedback and advise on issues and directions for the White Paper.
The group has met on three occasions to date with the most recent meeting taking place on 15 June. As I also indicated in my replies to previous questions, my intention was that the White Paper be published before the end of the year.
However, at their meeting on 28 May 1998, members of the group expressed concern that this timeframe might be too tight to allow for adequate consultation with the voluntary and community sector. The group asked that this timeframe be extended for some three months or so, so as to ensure that time is available for the widest range of voluntary and community groups to be involved in discussions and debate about the forthcoming White Paper.
I have agreed to this request as my primary  concern in the preparation of the White Paper is to ensure that the issues of importance to the voluntary sector are reflected and that there is genuine consultation in this regard.
Steering Committee Group on the White Paper on Voluntary Activity.
Dáil Éireann 492 Written Answers. White Paper on the Voluntary Sector.