Workers’ Party Dublin-North West representative Jimmy Dignam has slammed the uncertainty over the future of the North-West Childcare Resource Centre and the Ballymun Young Women’s Project, as a double-blow for women living in Ballymun and the wider north-west Dublin area.

Dignam called on the City of Dublin Youth Service Board (CDYSB) to move immediately to secure the future of the Ballymun Young Women’s Project. The BYWP is one of the only gender specific programmes in Dublin and offers an important service to young women in Ballymun. Working with a feminist perspective and youth work principles, the project encourages young women to challenge stereotypes, identify discrimination and social inequalities. The project works with around 70 young women every year and addresses subjects such as early pregnancy, lone parenthood, poverty and housing to name but a few.

Dignam said ‘I welcome the fact that a new host is being sought for the BYWP but I believe this situation should never have been allowed to arise in the first instance. It is a direct result of the draconian cuts to community and youth services in Dublin North West and the introduction of the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP). SICAP has already led to the closure of Ballymun-Whitehall Partnership and is a step towards the neo-liberalisation and privatisation of community services.’

A number of alternative organisations have offered to host the BYWP and these offers must be taken seriously. The Workers’ Party calls on the CDYSB to redouble its efforts to secure a host for this vital service and offers its solidarity to the three workers currently employed at the project, who are facing an uncertain future. Dignam also condemned the relocation and temporary closure of the North-West Local Childcare Resource Centre (LCRC). North-West LCRC provides advice about grants and supports available to childcare providers, as well as training and career information but lost its host with the closure of Ballymun-Whitehall Partnership. Tolka Area Partnership offered to host the North-West LCRC, however they were refused permission under SICAP rules and the LCRC has been forced to go out to tender again. It is currently only able to offer a call-out service to its users and the likely result of the tender process will be that this vital service will move from Ballymun to an office in Cabra.

Dignam said, ‘Ballymun has close to the highest numbers of lone parents per head of population in the entire country, meaning services such as these play an incredibly important role in the lives of many in the community, in particular young women. These cuts are a direct attack on the quality of life of women in the Ballymun area.’ ‘If regeneration in Ballymun is to have a lasting, positive impact for the community, services such as the Childcare Resource Centre and the Young Women’s Project must be maintained’, Dignam stated.

The Workers’ Party representative concluded with a call for the reversal of the shocking cuts to community services which have been implemented during the economic crisis as well as an immediate review of the impact of SICAP.