Department of Children confirm GRETB will provide new youth service

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs says that funding for the provision of youth services in Roscommon/North East Galway has not been withdrawn. Instead, the GRETB will now take up the service for young people in several areas of Roscommon and Galway.

It follows the closure of services this week offered by Youth Work Ireland in Arigna, Ballaghaderreen, Roscommon town, Castlerea and Castleblakney after the withdrawal of 400,000 euro in funding before Christmas.

However, in a statement to Shannonside FM news the Department says it will provide support to the Galway Education and Training Board to provide a replacement quality service in three locations where it funded services, from this month onwards.

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In a statement to Shannonside FM news, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs says it had only been funding two projects and one youth information centre at locations in Ballygar, Ballaghaderreen and Roscommon Town and not to the other locations where Youth Work Ireland operated in the region.

The decision to withdraw the grant was arrived at based on two reviews of the organisation, a Finance and Governance Review and a Service Review.

Following engagement with the organisation, the Department says it received no assurances that the youth services being provided were to a level that met the needs of young people in the region.

Nor it says was it provided with any assurances as to the organisation’s capacity to support, operate and manage quality youth services and to make good use of government funding for these purposes.

Before arriving at the decision to withdraw the funding the Department says it had very fruitful engagement with the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board to ensure that replacement services are put in place to ensure young people have access to quality services.

To that end the GRETB will be seeking to put in place a replacement quality service in all three locations from this month onwards on a transitional basis with more permanent targeted services to be in place from later this year.

This will include Ballygar, the project in that location having been closed in 2015 without the Department says, its permission.

It is important, the statement says that the decision to cease funding to Roscommon North East Galway is supported by Youth Work Ireland’s National Office and by the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board.