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Pre-Budget Submission from Community Groups in Dublin’s Inner City November 2011

October 11th, 2010 ·

from Community Groups

We are a small number of community groups who are working with communities in the inner city of Dublin. We are all front line organisations who were formally funded through the Dublin Inner City Partnership (DICP), which was closed in May 2010.

We are making this submission to highlight a number of issues that

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are pertinent and specific to the inner city of Dublin.

As we are all aware this is Minister Lenihan’s fourth budget and during the previous three the community sector and many of the communities that we work with have experienced significant cuts. This is also in the context of coping with cuts that have been introduced outside of the annual budget structure.

Since the 14th of October 2008, when the first of Minister Lenihan’s budgets was announced (six weeks earlier than usual), organisations and bodies that were established to protect the most vulnerable have lost funding; community groups, equality organisations, community and social services have all been drastically cut.

Income levies introduced in 2008 and increased in 2009 are now embedded in the system, while social welfare payments have been cut. This began in 2008 when social welfare payments were not increased in line with inflation for the first time in many years. The emergency budget in April 2009 introduced a 2% annual cut in social welfare with the removal of the Christmas bonus, as well as significant changes in social welfare entitlements. The budget of 2010 introduced the first direct cuts to social welfare payments of €8.30 for most of the weekly welfare payments, as well as a cut of €16 per month in child benefit.

The Emergency Budget of April 7th 2009 also highlighted further cuts in social welfare, the taxation or means testing of child benefit, changes in social welfare entitlements and new charges and taxes, such as water charges, and property and carbon taxes.

Two years ago, the St

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Vincent De Paul Society noted that the 2009 budget as being “grossly unfair, and failing to protect Ireland’s most vulnerable families”, and, as we know, things have got a whole lot worse since then.

We are concerned that the vulnerable are protected when budget 2011 is finalised. Alternative proposals to spending cuts and across the board tax hikes have been developed and proposed by the Community Platform Progressive Tax Reform Campaign, 4 steps 2 recovery: campaign for a viable alternative to cuts[1], which we endorse in the hopes that the mechanisms chosen to raise money in this budget

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will protect the most vulnerable and their services and community groups.

Since the start of this downward budgetary cycle, the cuts in the community sector have resulted in the loss

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of the DICP and five Community Development Projects in the inner city of Dublin, as well as year on year cuts from 2008.

It is estimated that between 2009 and 2010 resources of over €1,000,000 have been lost to the inner city from the Community Development and Local Development Social Inclusion Programmes. This does not include the loss of funding due to cuts in other funding sources, such as cuts to the budgets of;

  • City of Dublin Youth Services Board
  • HSE (inclusive of Drugs Task Forces)
  • FAS/Community Employment Programme
  • Department of Education and Skills
  • Office of the Minster of Children and Youth Affairs
  • Department of Social Protection (Family Resource Centres)
  • Dublin Docklands Development Authority
  • Additional cuts to Pobal funding lines, such as
    • Cuts in funds to senior citizens
    • Events
    • Millennium funds
    • Equipment

Coupled with this, there is growing pressure on a smaller number of philanthropic funding options.

It is within this context that Dublin City Council also announced a total of €30m in cuts to services (6 April 2009). These cuts most affect those who have the closest relationship with Dublin City Council, their tenants, who are some of the most disadvantaged citizens in the State. It is currently estimated that Dublin City Council has a budget shortfall of €35 million for 2010.

Specific Issues for the Inner City

The inner city of Dublin is now also in an anomalous position. Nationally, strategic plans are being developed and cohesion is underway between the former Community Development Programme and Local Development and Social Inclusion Programmes in order to establish the new Local and Community Development Programme; in the inner city of Dublin this is not the case, as there is no existing cohesion structure.

We are concerned that being in this anomalous position is a risk for the inner city.

Our fear is that the inner city and its communities are losing out on strategic direction and potential resources, while other communities are moving ahead with cohesion.

Since the early 1990s, Dublin’s Inner City has changed from being an area of wide-spread poverty to a patchwork of considerable affluence and disadvantage at the micro level. Therefore, there is a need to target those individuals, families and neighbourhoods that experience greatest need. There remains a significant need to support those that are targeting those disadvantaged communities at micro levels.

At present in the inner city:

Almost a third of the population (30.1% or 36,749 persons) are characterised as living in areas that are disadvantaged (i.e. disadvantaged, very disadvantaged and extremely disadvantaged)

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12,033 people or 10% of the population of the inner city is characterised as living in areas that are extremely disadvantaged.

69,912 people or 57.2% are living in areas that are below average. There are more people in

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Despite years of economic growth which has massively changed the inner city both physically and socially, there remain issues of social concern for the ‘old’ communities and some elements of the ‘new’ communities. These issues include; poor accommodation

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standards in relation to both local authority housing and private sector provision, the impact on communities, families and individuals of addiction problems, including anti-social behaviour and inter-community violence. Throughout the boom these communities continued to experience high levels of unemployment, or when working did so for low salaries and struggle(d) on low incomes. These are communities with low levels of educational attainment, poor health status and outcomes and populations of young people at risk.

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There are still significant levels of poverty and deprivation, which have been added to increased displacement, isolation and marginalization. Essentially, many of those with whom we work with did not benefit from the wider improvement and remain very disadvantaged. Their position will only get weaker with the continued cuts to social and community services, as well as direct cuts to their incomes.

Our Position:

  • We are asking that the budget 2011 does not further erode the community groups and services in the inner city, and ensures that cuts are not targeted at those least able to pay.

  • We are also asking that the inner city is not forgotten when it comes to Cohesion 111, and that those projects formally funded through the Dublin Inner City Partnership remain part of plans into the future.

This submission has been presented on behalf of community projects that were formally funded through the Dublin Inner City Partnership, which was closed in May 2010. These groups are Community Technical Aid (CTA), Inner City Organisations Network (ICON), the New Communities Partnership, the North West Inner City Network, the South West Inner City Network and Taca Clann Community Project.

Networks of ICON and NWICN

ICON and the North West Inner City Network are forums of community

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and voluntary groups which actively seek to enhance the quality of life for all in the community through facilitating a collective and co-ordinated response to influence policy and issues that affect the community with a clear focus on disadvantage and social inclusion. ICON operates in the north east inner city and NWICN in the north west. Both organisations promote a collaborative partnership between statutory, community and business groups in their areas.

Taca Clann

Taca Clann Community Project provides a range of supports to local residents

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from the Dominick Street-Dorset Street catchment area of Dublin’s north central inner city. Activities include advice, information, advocacy childcare, after-school and homework clubs.

CTA

CTA provides technical support to local communities and projects as well as carrying work for statutory, community and partnership organisations.

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Services and support offered by CTA include: Training, Social research, Urban planning, Regeneration Work

NCP

The New Communities partnership (NCP) is the sole network of over 111 representing ethnic minority led organisations and individuals in Ireland from

over 78 nationalities. Its overall objective is to create opportunity for Minority ethnic community leaders to engage directly with services planners and providers to articulate, in their own words, the needs of the communities whilst at the same time promoting intercultural dialogue at all levels to help develop common understanding of our shared citizenship.

SWICN

The South West Inner City Network is a voluntary organisation operating in the South West inner city of Dublin. It is a network of community and voluntary groups made up of tenants, community projects and individuals working and living in the area. It is a forum where issues affecting the community are identified and collective action is taken to address them. SWICN was founded in 1994 and has a current membership of 45 groups. SWICN also provides a range of community

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services, such as: SWICN Youth services, Drugs Educational and Prevention programme. Jobs Initiative; work, community services support, Clubhouse Technology Project.

Overall principles which guide and inform the ongoing work of the above groups are:

We have an anti-poverty /social inclusion focus;

We work across a wide geographical area

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inner city;

We are all frontline workers;

We work in partnership with each other and with different groups across the inner city e.g. Taca Clann Community Project) and the Housing Maintenance project;

As a result, we are flexible and can respond to emerging needs;

We work in partnership with a range of statutory agencies e.g. RAPID, DCC, HSE, Gardai, CDYSB.


[1] http://www.communityplatform.ie

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