A new alliance has been formed to protest the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Galway.
Entitled ‘Protect Communities: Protect Galway’, the alliance includes organisations and networks such as Galway City Community Forum, Action for Equality, Galway City Partnership and SIPTU.
Margaret Ó Riada, a spokesperson for the Alliance, said that while community organisations and those representing those with disabilities, young people and the Travelling Community had managed to “do more with less” in recent times, this was “no longer sustainable”.
Her views are shared by Marian Maloney Nolan of Action for Equality-Galway, who said that a pattern of reducing levels of support combined with increasing demand for services had left Galway “at breaking point”.
The group has been established ahead of Budget 2013, with Tommy Flaherty of Galway City Community Forum revealing that many agencies are concerned about the impact of any reduced supports.
“We have already seen the Galway Refugee Support Group close with the loss of all its supports and services to a very vulnerable group in Galway. Galway City Community Forum is very concerned that the coming budget will impact on its 245 plus member groups and the services and activities that they provide in the communities where they are based,” he said.
Galway City Partnership carried out a survey of organisations in Galway in an effort to build information and evidence and found a number of “key patterns” emerging.
“The cuts are cumulative with organisations facing their fifth year of cuts in some cases. Organisations that rely on other sources of funding (including fundraising) have reported significant reductions in revenue from these sources. At the same time, most organisations are reporting an increase in demand for their services and are anticipating further significant cuts this year,” said spokesperson Declan Brassil.
The alliance is now demanding that the Government reverse its focus on cuts and focus more on income generation.
“We believe there is a better, fairer, more equitable way. We believe that the Government, sitting down with those organisations that make up the Protect Communities: Protect Galway Alliance and other similar groups would result in an informed and fairer way to spread the burden of taxation and cuts while protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and society,” said Mr Flaherty.
It will also be producing a pre-budget submission on behalf of Galway City and is calling on all local political representatives to champion Galway in the forthcoming budget negotiations.
“Communities in Galway can take no more. We are holding all political representatives, local and national, responsible for any further cuts to our communities,” added Mr Flaherty.