“We cannot expect the private sector, which is solely concerned with making profits, to protect peoples’ rights to basic services.”

“creeping privatisation of homeless services, by shifting the burden to the voluntary sector, has helped to silence once authentic voices”

Calling on the Voluntary Sector to unite to resist PPPs and privatisation in the health, social and homeless services ALICE LEAHY, Director & Co-Founder of TRUST, the social and health service for people who are homeless, said today (WED. 28 May, 2008) that the recent collapse of PPPs in Dublin represented a shattering blow to the families involved waiting for social housing and the redevelopment of their areas.

The Voluntary Sector must become much more forceful, ALICE LEAHY said as advocates in defending those in society who have no voice instead of becoming involved in providing services that should be provided by the State. It is inevitable, she maintained that “the voluntary sector risks becoming complicit, in letting the State avoid having to provide decent quality public services, unless we speak with one voice in demanding justice for the most deprived”.

“PPPs and the privatisation of services are not about caring for people, they represent opportunities for the private sector to maximise profits in areas where the State should be in the driving seat protecting peoples’ rights. If we are serious about caring for people as people, everyone in the voluntary sector must reject the encroachment of privatisation in all its form in the health and social services, and in the provision of accommodation for people who are homeless,” she said.

ALICE LEAHY went on:

“We have argued against this trend because we have seen the serious consequences for the people we work with. Many well meaning people in the voluntary sector let the government off the hook, when they accept apparently large amounts of money to take over the role of the State in providing services. This represents a form of privatisation that has enabled services to be provided on the cheap, with the shortfall in service quality falling on the most vulnerable.”

Alice Leahy maintained that goodwill and generosity has been exploited. “Worse still, creeping privatisation of homeless services by shifting the burden to the voluntary sector has helped to silence once authentic voices, because to maintain services and keep the money coming in they are forced to keep quiet,” she said.

Advocating human rights based approaches in the provision of services ALICE LEAHY said “they constantly remind us we are not providing charity, or advocating charitable giving, but demanding that we live up to the principles of justice and fair play outlined in our constitution which we all are supposed to subscribe to.”