Northside Community Forum Statement April 2024

Sphere 17 Regional Youth Service is a member organisation of The Northside Community Forum.  Together with other organisations and agencies in our community we have signed the below statement.

Northside Community Forum Statement

The Northside Community Forum is a membership based community network of over 50 local community based organisations and groups operating in Dublin City Council’s North Central administrative area.

Our mission is to build a working relationship between the community and voluntary sector and other relevant stakeholders with a view to strengthen the voice of our community and to improve the quality of life for all.

Today we find ourselves working in a context in which global poverty and inequality is rising and services essential to addressing poverty and inequality in Ireland have been critically underfunded since the economic crash of 2008. Yet, Ireland is one of the few countries that has now generated a budget surplus.

We are mindful that many people across our community have legitimate concerns regarding the lack of investment in essential services including housing, health care, education and community facilities.

We recognise that in a democracy citizens have a right to protest, but we are concerned when those protests seek to divide communities and target vulnerable human beings who, like so many Irish living abroad, wish to contribute to their new home and build a better life.

There is no doubt that inequality and poverty are insidious and they can undermine democracy if left unchecked. We call on government to invest further in the work to address poverty and inequality and increase funding in the longer-term to essential community and voluntary services across the state.

Our history is one in which millions of Irish people left these shores to seek a better life elsewhere. Every Irish family has family oversees and it is not that long since our sons and daughters were the victims of hatred and discrimination in other countries. Yet today, that history is overshadowed by the huge contribution Irish people have made in every corner of the globe.

Many Forum member organisations and volunteers across the area have been working to support Ukrainian people fleeing the war and those who have arrived seeking international protection. In supporting these vulnerable people, we have been assisting them in adapting to Irish culture be it through English language provision, integration into local activities, linking them with vital services and supports in addition to helping people with their job readiness and we see how eager new members of our community are to find employment and contribute to Irish society.

In doing this work we have witnessed the incredible welcome, care and support offered by residents and groups across the community to fellow human beings in their time of need and we thank them all for their contribution to this important work.

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