Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (206, 207)

Derek Keating


206. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the impact of the cut in youth services in the Clondalkin, Palmerstown and Lucan areas; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the frontline services that are dealing with youth pregnancy, serious crime, drug addiction and anti-social behaviour are a vital part of response to the developing problems in young persons' lifestyles at present; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21685/13]

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Derek Keating


207. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her policy in responding to youth pregnancy, youth crime, alcohol consumption and school absenteeism; if her attention has been drawn to the impact of the cuts for frontline workers in the youth services in Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Lucan and Newcastle; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21686/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 and 207 together.

The Youth Affairs Unit of my Department provides a range of funding schemes, programmes and supports to the youth sector. Funding of some €53.498m is available in 2013 to support the provision of youth services and programmes to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. Targeted supports for disadvantaged, marginalised and at risk young people are provided through the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund Rounds 1 and 2 and Local Drugs Task Force Projects. These funding schemes support national and local youth work provision to some 400,000 young people and involve approximately 1,400 paid staff and 40,000 volunteers working in youth work services and communities throughout the country.

The savings required under the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure in respect of 2013 amounted to €5.393m. Having regard to the savings requirements identified in the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure my Department has tried to ensure that, in the determination process for the allocations, the front line youth services, particularly those for the most vulnerable young people are protected as far as is possible from the impact of any necessary reductions in funding.

In 2013, youth funding amounting to almost €1.5 million has been allocated to services in the Clondalkin and Lucan area. This includes:

Youth Affairs Funding 2013

Special Projects for Youth


Young Peoples Facilities Services Fund 1


Young Peoples Facilities Services Fund 2


Youth Information Centre


Traveller Development


The funding allocated for the provision of youth services in Co. Dublin including the Lucan and Clondalkin areas is administered by Co. Dublin VEC on behalf of my Department. I understand that Co. Dublin VEC has consulted with the projects in the Clondalkin/Lucan area and assured them of their continued support for the projects in managing the resources available in the most effective and efficient way.

In addition, Co. Dublin VEC disperses small grant support, funded by my Department, to local voluntary youth clubs in the Lucan & Clondalkin areas. The Deputy should note that under the Comprehensive Review of expenditure, I have ensured that there has been no cut to the total national funding being provided by my Department to support the local voluntary youth club grant schemes as this funding plays an important role in supporting volunteer-led youth groups and in promoting and leveraging valuable voluntary activity in youth work.

My Department administers a range of measures to support vulnerable young people and it works closely with the youth sector, the Departments of Education and Skills, Health, Social Protection, Justice and Equality on shared policy objectives to promote healthy behaviours among young people, prevent early school leaving and to promote positive outcomes for them. These measures include the National Youth Health Programme which provides a broad-based, flexible health promotion/education support and training service to youth organisations and to all those working with young people in out-of-school settings. These youth services are often first point of contact for young people and can be important reference points for them in matters to do with care, health and welfare. My Department provides funding, under the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund, for the Late Night League Programme which supports soccer leagues at various locations across Dublin to encourage young people to become involved in local activities thus reducing anti-social behaviour involving young people in selected areas. The programme focuses on young people aged 13-21, promotes healthy lifestyles and takes place in disadvantaged areas during prime anti-social hours such as Friday nights. The initiative uses football as a tool for social inclusion and learning and has proved to be very successful in communities.

The National Educational Welfare Board, under my Department, provides a range of measures to promote attendance at school and to support families where children are experiencing difficulty in attending school. Over €26m has been provided nationally in 2013 for the School Completion Programme, which is administered by my Department and operates as a key support within the Department of Education and Skills DEIS action plan. Four local school completion projects are funded in the Clondalkin Lucan area with over €1m being invested in 2013 to support students attending the 22 schools participating in these programmes.

My colleague, Minister Shatter, has overall responsibility in the area of crime and anti-social behaviour and his Department funds a range of youth services, in particular Garda Youth Diversion Projects and Young Person Probation Projects, in areas of greatest need with a specific youth crime intervention approach, targeting those involved in or at risk of offending behaviour through early intervention work. These services are linking with other youth services provided by my Department to support effective crime prevention approaches.

The new youth policy framework which my Department is developing for completion later this year will aim to enhance the provision of youth services and it will, inter alia, promote co-ordination between government departments and the youth sector organisations with a view to maximising the effectiveness of the State funding available to support services for young people in future years.