Minister Joe O’Brien hosts annual Social Inclusion Forum in Balbriggan

23rd June, 2022

The Department of Social Protection’s annual Social Inclusion Forum was hosted by Minister for Social Inclusion Joe O’Brien on Wednesday the 22nd of June, at the Bracken Court Hotel, Balbriggan. This event brought together over 100 delegates, including policy makers, service providers and service users from across government departments, NGOs, community and voluntary sector groups and representatives of people experiencing poverty and/or social exclusion, to discuss and debate national policy on poverty reduction and social inclusion.

This year’s Forum was again focused on the government’s Roadmap for Social Inclusion, 2020-2025. The Forum included 4 workshops on key Roadmap themes – income adequacy, social inclusion and children, social inclusion, and people with disabilities, and supporting communities – with facilitators from the community and voluntary sector, and presentations from expert practitioners.

The forum welcomed participation and contributions from several organisations working in Balbriggan, including the Balbriggan Community Council, Cairde, Empower, Aster Family Resource Centre, Balbriggan Traveller Project, Jigsaw, and Fingal County Council.

Speaking at the Forum, Minister O’Brien said:

“As Minister with responsibility for Social Inclusion I am pleased to have the opportunity to engage with everyone today, both those attending in-person and those attending virtually. The Social Inclusion Forum allows for constructive engagement between government departments, people experiencing poverty and social exclusion, and the community and voluntary sector groups representing them. I’m particularly glad to see the active participation of all those present, and to have the opportunity to listen to the different workshops and engage in the panel discussion. Today’s Forum gives Government the means to hear about the lived experience behind the statistics.

“The Roadmap for Social Inclusion contains ambitious targets for poverty reduction and given the current pressures on families and households we must make it a priority that Budget 2023 significantly closes the inequality gap. I genuinely believe there will be strong public solidarity for a budget that not only keeps people out of poverty but also actively lifts people out of poverty and with a specific focus on protecting children from the lifelong detrimental impacts of a poverty.

I’m particularly pleased that so many organisations which are doing valuable work in and around Balbriggan are represented here today. I look forward to working with these organisations in the future.”