14 November 2014

Minister launches €1M investment for Clondalkin families

Local TD Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Justice & Equality, today officially launched the Clondalkin Blue Skies Initiative, which will provide programmes and supports for local families to the tune of €1 Million in the 2014 - 2016 period.

Speaking in Clondalkin’s historic Áras Chronáin, Minister Fitzgerald thanked local children and parents for taking time out of their busy lives to attend, adding that “you represent this community’s present and future”.

She said:

“When this Government came to office in 2011, we stated our ambition to make Ireland the best small country in which to be a child, and the best small country in which raise a family. The Clondalkin Blue Skies Initiative is an integral part of that ambition. And today represents both a significant milestone on that journey, and highlights our ongoing and unwavering commitment to that goal.

“In November 2013, in my then capacity as Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, I announced that an additional nine areas had been selected to enter the design stage of the Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme for the years 2013 to 2016. As line minister for this important initiative, I was proud to deliver on this key Programme for Government commitment. And I was even prouder still, that Clondalkin was selected as one of the areas where these innovative and important programmes would be rolled out.

“Evidence-based programmes such as ABC have been shown - both at home and abroad - to succeed in substantially improving the life-long outcomes of children in local communities, and represent a sound, and very cost-effective investment in our nation’s future.

“As a country, we will also learn important lessons in rolling out these programmes, and these lessons can and will be implemented to improve mainstream service provision in our schools, health services and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

“I wish to congratulate the Blue Skies Consortium, spearheaded by Archways Clondalkin, for the vital role they are playing in this national strategy. Your expertise and on-the-ground knowledge will ensure the success of the ABC programme locally, while your data will contribute to the national mosaic of information and best practice.

“It would not be possible for us to consider bringing this many areas into the ABC programme were it not for the generosity of The Atlantic Philanthropies, who are matching the €14.85m the Government have made available to the programme.

“Finally, thank you to the parents and families participating in the programmes. I hope and expect that these initiatives will benefit the quality of your family life in a multitude of ways. Your participation will be vital in understanding what works and what doesn’t work, and will help refine the programme methodology for the benefit of other families.

“I look forward to maintaining contact with you and Archways as you go about your work. The very best of luck, and thank you for making me a part of this special day”.