OUTSPOKEN inner city Dublin councillor Mick Rafferty will address the AGM of the Ennis Community Development Project this Friday.
As the CDP look towards the projects they will undertake for the coming year, Councillor Rafferty will speak to members of the community-based scheme on his views about the current economic crisis and the new community structure and its impact on communities.
He has openly condemned cuts in the community and voluntary sector and is well known in national media circles for his strong views on Government policy in relation to the issues facing socially disadvantaged areas of inner city Dublin, where he has worked for over 30 years on community projects.
“While pumping €22 billion into the Anglo Irish Bank, the Government has cut budgets in community development projects around the country, leaving communities to row back on services to people who are in urgent need,” Councillor Rafferty said.
This year, Ennis CDP are celebrating 12 years in existence. Ennis CDP supports people from the Traveller community who still struggle with accessing services or adequate supports to fully participate in society.
“The Travellers’ Parent Support Programme focuses on education and training and provides opportunities for people to re-enter the educational system in a way that accommodates their own lives and circumstances. It also opens up the possibility for people to progress into further adult education,” Dermot Hayes of the Ennis CDP said.
They also run the Traveller Primary Healthcare Project which professionally trains Travellers to work within their own community to promote health awareness and education.
“The healthcare workers identify particular needs and feedback from their community which can then be addressed in collaboration with the health services. Ennis CDP collaborate with agencies and community groups on the Clare Traveller Strategy,” he added.
The CDP also operates the Back to Education Employment Skills Programme, which has been running for the past five years for people from immigrant communities wishing to learn orientation to working in Ireland, living in a diverse society and employment skills.
Mr Hayes said that they are facing financial challenges at the moment but are adamant that they will continue to provide the fundamental principles of community development in their projects.
“While our core funding from government has a limited time span, we are reviewing our work at this AGM, looking to the future as a positive challenge and a renewal of the principles of community development. Unfortunately for Ennis CDP, some of our funding is being shifted into another countywide organisation in the form of a local community development committee, which means that we have to consider carefully how to continue on providing the services we have been offering,” he commented.
The AGM takes place in the Temple Gate Hotel on Friday at 12 noon.