Friday, October 31, 2008

Catholic Youth Care wants Minister to say where lottery funds are going

THE MINISTER for Education must explain where National Lottery funds previously allocated to youth services are now going, according to the Dublin diocesan agency Catholic Youth Care.

Eddie D’Arcy, the agency’s youth work services manager, said the organisation was angry about Budget cutbacks.

He claimed that 90 per cent of the money allocated to youth services through the Department of Education came from the lottery.

“That will be cut by 10 per cent and we’re wondering, where is it going? We’re furious, on the basis that it’s never been exchequer funding,” he said.

The department says that the 2009 Budget allocation for youth services is €48.2 million, representing a decrease of 8 per cent. The 2008 estimate was €52.6 million. Funding was also provided for youth services from a number of other Government departments and agencies.

The agency had a meeting with officials from the department yesterday and has requested a meeting with Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe as a matter of urgency.

Mr D’Arcy said the agency was particularly disappointed with the Green Party.

“We’ve always had a huge amount of support from Paul Gogarty, who’s their education spokesman.

“Obviously we’ll be asking Paul to explain to us why they allowed such a savage cut.”

Mr D’Arcy said he understood the lottery intake had increased substantially this year, as a result of new games.

“If National Lottery money is not going to youth and sport, where is it going?” he asked.

Mr D’Arcy said the agency had been fully prepared to accept the fact that there would be no new funding for youth services in the recent Budget.

However, the extent of the cutbacks was not anticipated, he said.

“To cut the only social avenue for many young people will hit hard in some very marginalised areas. It’s going to impact severely on frontline projects.”

Mr D’Arcy was speaking at the launch of It’s My Place 2: Young People in the Community in Croke Park, at which 13 youth groups exhibited their project work.

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(Source: IT)

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