Dáil Éireann - Volume 521 - 13 June, 2000

Written Answers. - Community Development.

239. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the names of the agencies which received the £136,500 paid to provide specialist support in respect of domestic violence under the scheme of grants for voluntary and community services; the amount received by each agency; the way in which the agencies were selected; the basis on which the level of payment to the agencies is determined; the terms of contract with the agencies involved; if the service is proved in response to demand; and the consideration, if any, given by him to the need for gender balance in providing this service. [16698/00]

Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): My Department funds a number of organisations which have a national focus and expertise of working with specific groups or on specific themes to act as specialist support agencies – such as Travellers, people with disabilities or drugs. Such agencies provide a resource to the community development programme in relation to these issues as well as pro[283] viding specialist advice and support to local projects where appropriate.

Domestic violence was identified by the CDP advisory committee in 1997 as one of a number of priority areas of work for the CDP. A specialised group with expertise in the area of violence against women was invited to apply for funding as a specialist support agency. The CDP technical group, which advises my Department on new areas of work for the programme, recommended that the group be funded under the CDP. Funding was approved in 1997 and it received £136,500 in 1999. The service provided is based on ongoing demands identified by projects within the programme.

Funding to specialist support agencies is conditional upon the adherence to the terms of a three year contract with my Department and subject to satisfactory performance throughout the contractual period. Funding is provided towards the cost of employing full time staff, plus overhead and administration costs. The level of funding is determined after consultations between my Department and the particular agency.

While in this instance, funding is designed to meet the needs of CDP projects in the area of violence against women, I am aware of the need to ensure that gender balance is maintained throughout the Department's community development support programmes taken as a whole. The support needs of the CDP are reviewed regularly. New specialist support agencies can enter in response to needs identified by the advisory committee or by my Department. Specific regional thematic needs or issues may then be proactively targeted with a view to bringing a new organisation into being to meet these needs, or applications may be accepted from existing organisations.