IT, Tralee uses 30th Anniversary Celebrations to call for New Agenda for Family Support

Fergus Finlay, CEO of Barnardos, joined the Institute of Technology 30 th anniversary celebrations today, April A New Agenda for Family Support 2nd , to launch a new thought-provoking book titled â¿¿A New Agenda for Family Support - Providing Services that Create Social Capitalâ¿¿, by ITT lecturer in Applied Social Studies, Dr Colm Oâ¿¿Doherty.

Mr Finlay will addressed the Institute with a special lecture on â¿¿From Poverty to Hopeâ¿¿ which highlighted the potential assets families can bring to bear on their circumstances and contribute to their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of wider society. 

In congratulating Colm Oâ¿¿Doherty, Fergus Finlay said â¿¿In our work throughout Ireland , we frequently come across what you might call the increasing dilemma of social capital â¿¿where it is needed most, itâ¿¿s often hardest to come by. What that can mean is that families in crisis live in communities in crisis. The natural supports that can come from a stable and happy community, even the help neighbours can bring, are too often absent when communities have been neglected to the point of breakdown. A vicious circle can develop that leads to a permanent trap for both families and the communities they live in.

In that context Colmâ¿¿s book is a welcome and timely addition to the literature on this subject. It will offer considerable guidance to practitioners, and hopefully to policy makers, about the ever-increasing importance of community in the context of family support. And the book makes a powerful link between theory and practice, helping to show us a new way forward as we struggle to help families come to terms with many of lifeâ¿¿s obstacles.⿝ 

Child poverty is a serious problem in Ireland . According to the EU Survey of Income and living Conditions (EU-SILC 2006-CSO 2007) one in five people in Ireland is at risk of poverty. One in nine children in Ireland is at-risk-of poverty. Those who fall into the at-risk-of -poverty or relative poverty category are persons whose income is below 60% of the national median (middle range) income. One in three of those in consistent poverty are children , while 17% of those in consistent poverty are members of lone parent households. Almost 9% of people in Ireland experience debt problems and the income of the top 20% of the population is five times greater than that of the lowest 20%.

Dr Colm Oâ¿¿Doherty welcomes Mr Finlayâ¿¿s visit and says:   â¿¿Over the years the Institute has played a significant role in the social life of the community.   This event poses an opportunity for students, practitioners and policy makers to take stock of the issues facing marginalised and disadvantaged children and to call for investment in social capital to bring about positive change.