I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Deputy Tim O'Malley. As long as I have been in the House, Governments of all hues have urged the voluntary sector to work with them in addressing various problems in society. The Carmichael Centre is Ireland's first, largest and busiest centre for voluntary groups and it is entitled to Government support.
It has many members including An Óige, ASPIRE, CanTeen Ireland, CareLocal, Caring and Sharing Association, Centre for Independent Living, Children in Hospital Ireland, Children's Leukaemia Research Project, Coeliac Society of Ireland, Cuidiú — Irish Childbirth Trust, Disability Legal Resource, Drama League of Ireland, Dublin Community Games, Dublin Healthy Cities Project, Dublin Lesbian Line, Endometriosis Association of Ireland, Gamblers Anonymous, Gay Switchboard Dublin, Gingerbread, HADD Family Support Group, Health Action Overseas, Heart Children, Huntington's Disease Association of Ireland, Irish Association for the Study of Delinquency Limited, Irish Chronic Pain Association, Irish Fair Trade Network, Irish Lupus Support Group, Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, Irish Multiple Births Association, Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn's Disease, Irish Stammering Association, Irish Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association, Irish Sudden Infant Death Association, Men Overcoming Violence, Miscarriage Association of Ireland, Neurofibromatosis Association of Ireland, Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Parentline, Parkinson's Association of Ireland, Post Polio Support Group, Royal Life Saving Society, Sláinte Pobal Limited, Smashing Times Theatre Company, Voluntary Services Overseas, and Volunteering Ireland. That is a wide ranging group and other groups are also involved. The facility has been available since 1988 and it has been involved in nationwide management training programmes for these community and voluntary groups. It also supports those organisations in areas like legal responsibility, governance, recruitment and employment, fund-raising, policy development and accountability and compliance, general clerical and administrative service, expert representation on policy regulation and legislation, payroll and accounting services and information technology support and consultancy. It charges member organisations for those facilities so it is doing the best it can to raise funds. It has also received money from various philanthropic funds and is involved in various fund-raising activities also.
However, it is absolutely essential the centre receives some core funding from the Government. It was hopeful that €150,000 was coming from the Department of Health and Children, but that has not materialised at present even though the charities regulation Bill is imminent. The Government will have charities with absolutely no back-up trying to keep going if the Carmichael Centre closes down and I implore the Minister of State to ask the Department for some money so these services can continue.
I listened to the 4 o'clock news on the radio and it was followed by an advertisement for Parentline. Parentline is one of the most important ways in which parents in extreme distress about their children can get help and advice. Who in the Department of Social and Family Affairs or the Department of Health and Children will take that over if such organisations close down? The Minister of State knows how concerned we are with violence in society and here we have an organisation set up by men, Men Overcoming Violence, which is trying to work in this area. That these organisations will be without the help given by the Carmichael Centre seems one of the most short-sighted ways of saving money I have seen for a long time. I hope the Minister of State can reassure me and those who work in Carmichael House that the redundancy notices can be taken back so that the excellent services provided there can continue.