Dáil Éireann - Volume 608 - 26 October, 2005
Written Answers. - Voluntary Sector.
Mr. Eamon Ryan Mr. Eamon Ryan
101. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will commission new research into volunteering here given that the latest survey data available is from the 1990s. [30693/05]
Mr. Stanton Mr. Stanton
133. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on his Department’s role in promoting active citizenship through participation and involvement in the community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30749/05]
Mr. N. Ahern Mr. N. Ahern
Mr. N. Ahern: I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 133 together.
I refer the Deputy to my response to Questions Nos. 305 and 308 on 8 March 2005, in which I outlined a package of measures to provide support for volunteering. The measures were redesigned to deepen and strengthen the existing volunteering infrastructure, to develop and expand volunteering infrastructure at local and community level, to promote volunteering among young people in second and third level, support the development of an authoritative code of best practice for volunteering and to develop reliable data with regard to volunteering to inform further initiatives. The intention is to sustain and strengthen volunteering in order to create the  time and space to develop a comprehensive national policy in consultation with communities and players in the sector.
I accept that many reports, including the Oireachtas committee report on volunteering, favour new research on the area. However, there is a view, which I share, that considerable useful up to date information on volunteering already exists at local-bureau level. Rather than commit significant funding at this juncture to new research programmes, the new development officer, recently recruited by Volunteer Centres Ireland under one of the funding measures I have already mentioned, should seek to develop this information into useful local and national statistics. I understand that this work is getting under way.
The ultimate objective of a policy on volunteering is to inspire and encourage people to actively participate in the development of their communities. This key principle of active citizenship underpins not only my approach to volunteering but also the local and community development programmes operated by my Department.
Dáil Éireann 608 Written Answers. Voluntary Sector.