What are Wirral Council’s budget proposals on garden waste and cuts in services to the Irish community?
The author of this piece has one parent who has dual Irish & British nationality.
Below are briefing notes sent to councillors following a behind closed doors meeting to discuss budget cuts (that have yet to be formally agreed).
Topics covered include garden waste (where it’s noted that the plan shows that the Wirral Globe receives £3,000 and Wirral View £2,200), defunding a service provided through Sadir House for people with HIV/AIDS and defunding services provided through Irish Community Care Merseyside to the Irish and Irish traveller communities.
Last time I spoke with His Excellency Dáithí Ó Ceallaigh (the Irish Ambassador to the UK) in 2007 in Liverpool, I pointed out that if racist decisions were made by public sector employees in Ireland, it is frowned on by the international community and discourages foreign direct investment in Ireland or indeed trade with Ireland.
If I remember correctly his response was that bringing about peace in Northern Ireland was a political aim of Tony Blair (which had led to the change I was referring to). He went on to give the opinion that if the result of the Irish government implementing closer bilateral cooperation with the UK was the outcome I described, then the political aim of peace in Northern Ireland outweighed the unfortunate consequences of this on an individual.
The Celtic Tiger phase ended shortly after I spoke with him. Within a year, Ireland entered a recession, the next two years saw the opposite of growth and a contraction in the Irish economy of -1.7% in 2008 and -7.1% in 2009. People suffered in Ireland as a result.
However, much as my warning in 2007 got politely listened to at the international level, I will repeat what I said 11 years ago again (but in a slightly different way). If Wirral Council goes ahead and defunds specialist services for the Irish community through Irish Community Care Merseyside, you damage Wirral’s reputation at the international level. It comes across as misguided.
I realise after decades of tensions towards the Irish in Britain, Wirral Council may not fully understand why some from the Irish Community don’t trust the public sector and Irish Community Care Merseyside delivering services can do so in a more culturally appropriate way. Wirral Council’s viewpoint that it would be cheaper if people suddenly went to a one size fits all service from Wirral Council completely misunderstands the situation.
Where’s the equality impact assessment on this? Is Wirral Council so parochial it doesn’t understand that if it ignores the same warning I gave the Irish Ambassador in 2007 and that exactly the same thing could happen here?
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