Minister Phil Hogan’s recent speech at the Wheel conference in Croke Park gave positive assurance to C&V Sector that it would remain high on the Irish Government’s agenda. Minister Hogan acknowledged the important role this sector has to play in the provision of essential services to various groups within society, but was clear in his belief that this sector can also play a fundamental role in Ireland’s recovery.

‘In my view, the community and voluntary sector can play a dual role at this time-firstly, by supporting the most disadvantaged and the most excluded in our society, and secondly, by acting as a catalyst for long-term social and economic recovery in Ireland through the development of more vibrant communities.’

The Minister also demonstrated his awareness that good governance practices are not where they should be. Speaking within the context of the current economic climate, he issued a stark warning that the Government will not continue to support organisations that exhibit bad or poor governance practices and poor use of finances.

‘We have learned over the past number of years that simply funnelling money into any area does not automatically deliver better services. In fact it sometimes leads to greater fragmentation, greater duplication, a lack of ownership and a lack of clarity around where responsibilities lie.’

The need for good governance, value for money and greater coordination are indeed the steps the sector needs to take in order to enhance its performance capacity.The Minister delivered big on ideas but it remains to be seen if they will manifest in the near future. Ireland’s dire economic situation will add significant strain on the Minister’s pledge to revamp the sector. Whilst he stated that he will do him upmost to protect those providing vital services, he cautioned that ‘no area is immune to cost cutting measures.’

Minister Hogan has taken tangible steps towards improving the sector, instilling confidence that he is serious about his objectives. In June, the Minister announced €10 million in funding for 63 national community and voluntary organisations under the Scheme to Support National Organisations.

Written by Sophie O’Brien.

Boardmatch Ireland communications officer