Update on Policy Issues for those in Youth Work in Ireland 
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Policy Brief

Summer 2014

Budget 2015

Under new procedures Government budgets are now devised in October. With the departure of the Troika and the achievement of targets to date signs are pressure on public spending may be less than expected. It is generally accepted that reaching the agreed budget deficit target of 3% of GDP will not involve the cuts of E2bn previously planned. A lower adjustment coupled with measures already agreed like water charges may ease the level of cuts on frontline services. Youth Work Ireland will make a budget submission focused on the 5 grounds of the new Children and Young Peoples Policy Framework. Some of the relevant issues have been flagged by Social Justice Ireland
Social Justice Ireland Socio-economic Review 2014


European and Local Elections

The recent European and Local elections saw much change in Irish politics. Local authorities have been promised more powers and for the first time have the ability to vary their income in terms of the Local Property Tax. New local development structures also place an emphasis on youth and facilities in terms of the work of LCDCs. A significant amount of young people were elected to local authorities on this occasion. Some of these councillors have previous experience in youth groups and with Comhairle and can be a useful resource for the youth sector. 

Adrian Kavanagh on Young Candidates


Community Employment

Many providers of important local community services have long utilized Community Employment Projects supported by FAS and now the Department of Social Protection. A recent value for money review of CE has indicated a move towards a more sectoral approach with the development of the childcare consolidated projects specializing in this area. Youth Work Ireland is interested in investigating whether any synergies can be achieved between various Community Employment Projects in the youth work area.
The Financial Review of CE

Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures

The overarching policy document for children and young people in Ireland was launched on April 16th by the Taoiseach. Much of the content had been reasonably well known in advance. The Framework covers five outcomes for children and young people, health and wellbeing, education and learning, safety from harm, economic security and young people being connected and respected. These outcomes will be important fields for planning and evaluation of work in the future and it is important for all those in the youth sector to connect their work to them. Work on a sub strategy for youth has now begun.   The full document is available here;
Better Outcomes Brighter Futures  

Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

The Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children discussed youth work in Ireland with representatives from Dail na nOg and The National Youth Council of Ireland on May 29th. The discussions covered the forthcoming Dail na nOg showcase and general issues concerning youth work in Ireland. The then Minister for Health and Children Frances Fitzgerald appeared before the same Committee on April 17th. Issues covered included The Child and Family Agency, Children First and the new policy framework.
Youth Work in Ireland Discussion
Committees Quarterly Meeting with the Minister  


Minister for Children 

Charlie Flanagan TD became the new Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on following the appointment of Frances Fitzgerald as Minister for Justice and Equality on May 8th. Flanagan was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1987 general election, succeeding his father Oliver J. Flanagan.  He was party spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Law Reform from 2007 to 2010, and was the party spokesperson on Children from 2010 to 2011.
Profile of Charlie Flanagan
Charlie Flanagan on Twitter


30 Years Since the Costello Report

NUI Maynooth held a conference marking 30 years since the Costello Report on June 25 & 26th. The conference used the 30th anniversary of this major document on youth policy to take stock of youth policy and in the future. There were significant inputs form the EU Commission, the Council of Europe, Prof. Maurice Devlin, Minister Charlie Flanagan and Jim Breslin, Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The contribution of those who were involved in the Costello report 30 years ago was also marked.
More information here


Youth Employment 

The Centre for Effective Services held a conference on the contribution of youth organisations to youth employment. The conference followed on from the Dublin Declaration adopted during Irelands EU presidency.  Speakers will included the NYCI, CDYSB, Ballymun Regional Youth Resource, Bradog Regional Youth Service and Tipperary Regional Youth Service. While there has been a decline in youth unemployment in the last year the pattern has not been as clear in recent months with the number of under 26s increasing in some months.
Dublin Declaration adopted during Irelands EU Presidency
More information


Internet Safety


The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has published the report of an expert group on internet safety. The report covers issues such as cyber bullying and content blocking. The report has a particular focus on issue relating to children and young people. The Minister also announced the formation of an implementation group chaired by his Department and comprising representatives of the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Education and Skills, Justice and Equality, and Health, who will agree on and oversee the implementation of the ICGA Group recommendations.
The Department’s Press Release
The Full Report


Erasmus + 


The new Erasmus + Programme was launched by the Minister for Education and Skills on May 12th. Erasmus+ brings together seven existing EU programmes in the fields of education, training and youth and for the first time will provide support for sport. As an integrated programme, Erasmus+ offers more opportunities for cooperation across the education, training and youth sectors and is easier to access than its predecessors, with simplified funding rules. 
Further information from Leargas
Speech by the Minister at the Launch of Erasmus +


Public Transport 


For some years there have been anomalies with regard to young people having to pay adult fares on public transport, this has been the subject of previous campaigns. The child rate rate for the Leap card will now be extended to 16, 17 and 18 year olds from this August. Usually 16 is the cut off age for child fares and when adult fare prices kick in. The National Transport Authority announced the changes in May. Free public transport for the very young will also be extended by a year across Dublin Bus, Irish Rail, Luas and Bus Éireann.
More Information form the NTA


School Charters

The need for young people to be consulted and involved on decisions that affect them in school is increasingly being recognized. It is now intended that parents and students will have a right to be consulted on codes of behaviour, bullying policies and even the weight of school bags under planned new school charters. Legislation underpinning the charter will be contained in the final version of the Admission to Schools Bill, amending the 1998 Education Act.
More information here


Ten Years of the Ombudsman for Children


The Ombudsman for Children’s Office has marked its 10th anniversary. The Office was set up after numerous calls from NGOs and The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. It is an important office which hears complaints directly from children and young people who feel they have been discriminated against in their dealings with the state. The things that the OCO can do are set out in the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002. The main areas of work of the OCO are; Independent complaints handling, Communication & Participation and Research & Policy

More information here


Child Poverty

Almost one in five children live in households with incomes below the poverty line (18.8%). Overall children represent one quarter of Irelands poor. Increasingly many of those who are living in poverty are actually in work. Social Welfare is the key instrument to lifting people out of poverty and the recession has led to a major increase in deprivation. Similarly we know that young people have been hit hardest by this current recession. Likewise our society is getting more unequal at this time. All this information if contained in a recent Social Justice Ireland publication.
Poverty and Income Distribution Briefing


Charity Regulation

Following recent public disquiet the Government has finally filled the position of charity regulator and appointed a board to the Charities Regulatory Authority. The Authority is under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality. The role of the Authority includes increasing public trust and confidence in the management and administration of charitable trusts and charitable organisations, promoting compliance by charity trustees with their duties in the control and management of charitable trusts and charitable organisations, promoting the effective use of the property of charitable trusts or charitable organisations, and ensuring the accountability of charitable organisations to donors and beneficiaries of charitable gifts, and the public.

The new website for the Charities Regulatory Authority

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