The Department of Children and Youth Affairs have confirmed that replacement youth services will be established in the county by the end of this month.
The news comes following the withdrawal of funding to Youth Work Ireland, which operated Youth services in Ballaghaderreen, Roscommon town and Ballygar. The Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board and the Department are conducting a needs analysis of young people’s needs in order to establish a replacement quality service. Replacement service providers are being assessed and the funding originally earmarked for Youth Work Ireland will be allocated. The new services will initially be on an interim basis at first with permanent services put in place later in the year.
Funding was withdrawn from Youth Work Ireland Roscommon North East Galway following a service and governance examination undertaken by the City of Dublin Youth Services Board. They produced two reports recommending a series of changes under two headings, Finance & Governance and Service Provision. A number of recommendations were made and a number of issues had been addressed by Youth Work Ireland, however, funding was withdrawn when they did not meet all the criteria.
Commenting on the issue Michael Fitzmaurice TD said
“This is a matter that I raised with the Department and the Minister before Christmas. It is completely unacceptable that the young people of this region should have to go with-out services for any length of time. I will be pressing the Minister and the Department to ensure that the services are replaced in all three centres (Ballygar- which was closed in 2015, Ballaghaderreen and Roscommon Town) as soon as possible” he concluded.
Senator Maura Hopkins said
“Officials from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs have informed me that funding was withdrawn from Youth Work Ireland Roscommon North East Galway following a service and governance examination. I was advised that the Department found that the service being delivered by Youth Work Ireland was not sufficient to meet the needs of young people and that the governance structure was not fit for purpose. For example, in the statement provided by the Department they note that one of the sites for delivery of youth work projects in Ballygar was closed by Youth Work Ireland Roscommon North East Galway in 2015 without the Department’s permission.”
Senator Hopkins continued “it is really important for the general public that we are assured and convinced that the services are being delivered to a high standard to meet the needs of vulnerable young people. We must have confidence in the governance of organisations providing these and other services, we have too many examples of poor structures in other organisations resulting in inefficient use of hard earned taxpayer’s money.”
Senator Hopkins also stated “the Phoenix Centre in Ballaghaderreen has been supporting a large number of individuals and local groups and organisations within the town and surrounding area for a long period of time and it is vital that it reopens as soon as possible. Ongoing negotiations are actively taking place to ensure this happens and that an improved service for our young people is provided.”