Dáil Éireann - Volume 589 - 05 October, 2004

Written Answers. - Voluntary Activity.

  148. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the way in which he can assist the community and voluntary sector, which has seen the fourth anniversary of the White Paper on supporting voluntary activity pass with little in the way of Government initiatives to show. [22906/04]

  176. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the measures he intends to take to ensure the full implementation of the White Paper on a framework for supporting voluntary activity; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the voluntary sector has expressed its dissatisfaction with its implementation to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22707/04]

  462. Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the proposals he has for structured investment in the community and voluntary sector within a framework of sustained support and development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23219/04]

  Mr. N. Ahern: I propose to take Questions Nos. 148, 176 and 462 together.

Considerable progress has been achieved in regard to implementation of recommendations in the White Paper on a Framework for Supporting Voluntary Activity and for Developing the Relationship between the State and the Community and Voluntary Sector. In September 2003, I announced some €7.3 million in funding to 56 organisations in the community and voluntary sector over a three year period under schemes to support the role of federations, networks and umbrella bodies and to provide training and supports to the sector. Funding of €1.43 million per annum is being channelled to the anti-poverty [1012] networks. Funding of some €1.28 million per annum is being provided for the continuing development of the highly successful community and voluntary fora, established as an important element of the local government reform process.

In addition, a consultation paper on establishing a modern statutory framework for charities was posted on my Department’s website on 17 December last. In early February, I formally launched a public consultation and a notice, inviting submissions, was placed in the national papers. The public consultation will inform the development of the forthcoming legislation in this area. This week I was pleased to publish the external report on the public consultation.

Deputies will also be aware that an implementation and advisory group, IAG, comprising representatives from the voluntary and statutory sectors, was established to monitor and advise on the implementation of the White Paper. Substantive matters considered to date by the IAG include: the multiplicity of funding sources through which the sector must operate; the designation of voluntary activity units in relevant Departments; accreditation of training in the sector; support for volunteering and the establishment of good practice standards in both the community and voluntary sector and the statutory sector. The White Paper indicated that a review of the IAG should take place after a three year period. Work on this review, which I expect to be concluded shortly, is continuing in my Department.

Question No. 149 answered with Question No. 139.