herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Voluntary groups in funding cuts fear

NINE-out-of-10 community groups claim lobbying for Government action to reduce poverty is tougher than ever.

Another 40pc of organisations said they have experienced threats to funding, or have had concerns about money since the start of the economic crisis.

Some 170 community and voluntary groups replied to the questionnaire for the Advocacy Initiative, which promotes social justice work in Ireland.

Director Anna Visser said ignoring or closing down social justice advocates would cost everyone more in the long run.

Many of Ireland's leading NGOs will today attend the Advocacy Initiative's first Knowledge Exchange Forum, to be opened by President Michael D. Higgins.

It will explore how social justice advocacy can survive during austerity.

The 17-member steering committee of the Advocacy Initiative includes organisations like The Society of St Vincent de Paul, Focus Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society.

Ms Visser said: "We want the Government to engage with us to seriously address the needs of Ireland's growing levels of poverty. Instead of throwing in the towel in the face of economic adversity, we are looking at how we can work together and work smarter to compete against special interests which may have held court before."

hnews@herald.ie

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