Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Community Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív TD has accused the Minister for Environment of further dismantling community services to vulnerable and disadvantaged areas by effectively withdrawing funding from the National Women’s Network.
The new Social Inclusion Activation Programme (SICAP) introduced by Minister Phil Hogan states that national organisations, like The National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks (NCCWN) cannot tender for funding and support.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented: “The National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks (NCCWN) is made up of 17 bodies nationwide which provide support, advocacy, counselling and others services for severely disadvantaged women.
“In fact, it is the only national programme specifically dedicated to women in disadvantaged communities. We are not doing enough to tackle disadvantage and by precluding the NCCWN from the dedicated pool of €1.3 million in state funding, the Minister is actually adding to this.
“In the Dáil today, Minister Hogan said he had received legal advice regarding his obligations to put the programme out to tender on a regional basis. This is a weak argument and in fact there are no legal reasons that preclude national groups from bidding for this funding. The Minister needs to stop hiding behind this lame argument and revisit his decision. The NCCWN provides support to 36,589 women who will not get the same quality of service in the new arrangement.
“I am calling on the Minister to have the good grace to realise his mistake and allow the NCCWN to tender for funding on a national level.”