Page 10

Interview

CURRAN ON CAMERA Minister of State, John Curran, takes questions on maintaining frontline services, difficulties over pensions for drugs workers, unemployment, his heroes, the Department’s role in supporting communities, and his days as a protester. Excerpts from the interview are available on changingireland.ie and on youtube.com ALLEN MEAGHER: Have you ever been on any street protests? MINISTER OF STATE, JOHN CURRAN: I was involved in student protests. One of the big issues at the time was the very poor standards of accommodation… with students living in bedsits and flats in Rathmines. I marched to the Dail as a student. I never thought (then) that a day would come when I’d be on the other side of the gate, that didn’t cross my mind. It’s unusual, it’s not like you get up in the morning and say ‘I’ll become a TD’ … Every so often, I look (out the window) and say ‘Yeah, well, once upon a time I was there with the students.’ Those who organise a protest do it to show a depth of feeling. They’ve already engaged with Ministers and civil servants and the protest is to show the depth of feeling, that

90% of the world’s wealth is in men’s hands

it is not just John and Mary coming to the minister with a letter or petition, that this is an issue that has exercised a lot of people. I’m very conscious when I see protests. Should RAPID areas be ringfenced for protection from frontline cutbacks? Not necessarily. The funding for 2009 for Drugs Taskforces will be the same as in 2008 in money terms. I would hope Taskforces find efficiencies in the way they do their business, to ensure the frontline services they’re providing are maintained. It is a challenge, but it’s one faced by every Government department, by every private company. (Drugs) projects may have to look at a shared outreach worker between projects or a shared counsellor or maybe one co-ordinator providing services or hosting services for other

10.

projects. So, what are communities saying to you nationwide? We still have people who didn’t make it, we still have people in poor circumstances. We still have areas trying to get over the legacy of generations of no employment. What communities are saying to me very clearly is that, even in the good times we had parts of this country that needed considerable support and still need it. What impressed you most in the communities you have visited? Most of the projects come from the communities themselves and what really inspires me is people’s imagination and their own approach to coming up with solutions to their problems that work. When you look

Profile for CHANGING IRELAND

CHANGING IRELAND ISSUE 28  

Hot in Issue 28: The Participation Issue - Over 750 join new Travellers’ forum/ Obama - he’s one of us!/ Primary health care in Donegal/ Min...

CHANGING IRELAND ISSUE 28  

Hot in Issue 28: The Participation Issue - Over 750 join new Travellers’ forum/ Obama - he’s one of us!/ Primary health care in Donegal/ Min...

Advertisement