Last week’s news that €220,000 of state funding is to be re-allocated to Scouting Ireland came as a relief to staff, though the organisation’s troubles are not yet over, according to Fórsa official Dessie Robinson.
The money represents three months’ worth of public support, which will see the organisation through to October, when the resignation of all board members is expected to take effect.
Scouting Ireland agreed last week to introduce the recommendations of an expert report undertaken by Jillian van Turnhout, a former head of the Children’s Rights Alliance, who recommended that the entire board should resign.
Earlier this year staff feared that their jobs, and the services they support, were in jeopardy when minister for children Katherine Zappone withheld funding on foot of a scandal over the body’s handling of a rape allegation.
In April, Dessie wrote to the minister seeking assurances that her decision to withhold state funding wouldn’t undermine services or prevent the payment of salaries.
Dessie said staff in the organisation agreed that Scouting Ireland should follow best practice regarding governance issues, particularly with regard to child protection, “However, they also have serious concerns that the sudden withdrawal of funding could impact negatively on the services they provide on behalf of their employer,” he said.
Dessie said outstanding issues of pay and staff protections remain a concern. He said the union had a commitment on discussions around these issues from Scouting Ireland's chief executive.
Scouting Ireland received over €875,000 from the Department last year. Minister Zappone is due to make a decision on fully restoring funding following a progress report in September.