Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 02 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Youth Services.

  473. Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will report on the implementation of the Youth Work Act 2001; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27146/04]

  474. Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Science if the appointment of a youth development officer in the Tallaght west area will be considered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27147/04]

  Ms Hanafin:I propose to take Questions Nos. 473 and 474 together.

The Youth Work Act 2001 was enacted on 1 December 2001 and provides a statutory basis for the development of youth work in Ireland. The Act provides a legal framework for the provision of youth work programmes and services to be organised by the Minister for Education and Science, the vocational education committees and national and regional youth work organisations.

It was never the intention that the Act would be implemented fully at once. Section 1 of the Act provides for sections to be commenced at different stages. To date, sections 2 to 7, 17, 18 and 24 have been commenced. A sub-committee of the National Youth Work Advisory Committee was established to make recommendations on the requirements necessary for the implementation of the various sections of the Act. This sub-committee comprises representatives of both statutory and voluntary sectors, as well as my Department. The work of this sub-committee is ongoing and it is currently developing detailed guidelines and procedures for the further implementation of the Act.

It is considered essential to have agreement between all the interested parties on the necessary procedures, and to have these in place so that further implementation of the Act can take place in a satisfactory and structured manner. It is intended that further discussions will take place with the various parties involved. The implementation of further sections of the Act will be dependent also on the availability of the appropriate financial resources. The appointment of youth development officers in vocational educational committee areas will be considered as part of the overall implementation process.

I want to assure the Deputy of my support for the youth work sector and to say that it is my intention to make every effort to secure additional funding for the implementation of the Act through the 2005 Estimates process.