17th December 2020 | Green Gazette

Oireachtas briefing: Funding announced for charities, commemorations and inclusion

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Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, has announced the distribution of the additional €10 million funding allocated to the COVID-19 Stability Fund for Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises.

An additional €10 million was provided for the COVID-19 Stability Fund, which was announced during Budget 2021, for distribution in 2020. This brought the total available under the Fund to €45 million.

“I am very happy to be able to provide some additional funding to organisations approved for funding under the COVID-19 Stability Fund”, Minister O’Brien said.

“The previous funding is supporting a diverse range of organisations providing critical services to communities all over the country and I hope that this additional funding will provide them with the resources they need to continue this work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank organisations in the community and voluntary sector, charities and social enterprises for the support they are providing to the most vulnerable in our communities during this pandemic”.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, announced funding of €1.75 million for local authorities in 2021 to support their leading role in developing community-led commemorative activities for the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries Programme. This includes €50,000 allocated to every Local Authority to support their plans for 2021, and a further €200k is available for those local authorities who have any additional requirements in relation to specific centenary events and other larger projects.

“I want to sincerely thank all of the local authorities for responding with such enthusiasm, ambition and imagination in developing their commemorative programmes for this year. I know that it took considerable work to adapt their plans so skilfully in response to the immense challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic”, Minister Martin said.

“The final phase of the Decade of Centenaries (2021 – 2023) recalls some of the most significant, traumatic and deeply personal events in our shared history, including the Struggle for Independence, the Civil War, Partition and foundation of Northern Ireland. The thoughtful and careful approach of our local authorities will have a key role in supporting the national conversation and respectful public engagement with this period in our history.”

Minister Catherine Martin also announced a number of test live performances that will take place in the coming days and weeks. These will include a performance of the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the National Concert Hall on Saturday, December 19th, and a production of Landmark Productions and Octopus Theatricals’ innovative “Theatre for One” at the Abbey Theatre for a limited run from Friday, December 18th.

“The reopening of galleries, museums and cinemas in recent days has shown us the ways in which arts and culture can enrich our lives and can do so safely and while operating to strict protocols to protect public health.,” Minister Martin said. “I am acutely aware of the great importance of drama and music in all of our lives and these events are an important step in showing that these are controlled spaces which can operate safely at this time.”

This week, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, announced that additional funding for the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) secured in Budget 2021 will be made available from January. AIM payments, which enable ECCE (free pre-school) providers to support inclusion of children by reducing the adult-child ratio within the pre-school room, will rise by 7% from €195 to €210 per week.

Minister O’Gorman welcomed the increase in funding:

“Every child should have access to high quality early learning and care. Through the award-winning Access and Inclusion Model, we can support children with disabilities in accessing mainstream pre-schools and help pre-schools recruit and retain qualified staff to support inclusion. This increase in funding is a clear sign of my Department’s commitment to continue fostering an inclusive culture, one where all children are supported in benefitting from early learning and care.” 

The Government has this week approved publication of the annual report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Professor Conor O’Mahony. Minister O’Gorman, who submitted the report to Government, said the report of the Special Rapporteur covers a wide range of policy areas and that relevant Departments and Agencies would now be reviewing the contents and recommendations set out in it.

“The reports of the Special Rapporteur provide important input to the development and review of child protection policy and legislation as well as an objective and independent expert view of the child protection system in Ireland.

“I welcome this first report from Professor Conor O’Mahony in his role as Special Rapporteur, which has a timely focus on three areas relevant to the review of the Child Care Act 1991. The Special Rapporteur’s report is a very significant and valuable contribution to the review of the primary piece of legislation regulating childcare and child protection policy in Ireland. My Department is considering each of the relevant recommendations in detail and will be working with colleagues across Government to progress some of the key recommendations for reform.”