Swans in front of Galway Cathedral

GCCN Submission on the Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland

Galway City Community Network welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the National Social Policy the PPN User Guide Review. 

The subsistence of the submission is based on the outcomes of a workshop held with GCCN members, including a number that are social enterprises or run social enterprises. The contribution that these social enterprises make in Galway was noted. Amongst their distinguishing features are:

  • They operate in or with the most marginalised communities in Galway;
  • They provide essential services to communities in the city that would not otherwise be delivered;
  • They provide employment opportunities to people from the communities that are often most distant from the labour market;
  • They have trading income, however that income is often insufficient to meet the costs of the service and the Community Services Programme is essential to their sustainability;
  • Any surpluses generated are reinvested in the social enterprise or to advance the cause for which they were established or contribute to the collective benefit of the community they serve;
  • They provide other less quantifiable benefits such as wellbeing and challenge stigma and stereotypes.

GCCN members believe that social enterprise is a critical area of work for the community, voluntary and environmental sectors in Ireland and has significant potential in these areas.

GCCN members welcome the development of a National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland and believe that it is timely and appropriate.

However, there was a consensus that, in its current iteration, the Policy is unclear and serves to confuse rather than to bring clarity to the area of social enterprise. The term ‘Policy’ is used when the document reads more like a strategy.

See below further details on GCCN’s suggestions with regards to the Policy.