Cumann Iosaef Needs Funding To Cover Extra Costs For Meals On Wheels Service

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Cumann Iosaef.

MANAGEMENT at Cumann Iosaef Community Centre have asked councillors of Tralee Municipal District to help them in their appeal to the Government for extra funding, after the increase in the minimum wage came in earlier this year.

Their meals on wheels service operates seven days a week, all year round, councillors were told at a presentation by Kevin O’Connor of Cumann Iosaef at the meeting of Tralee Municipal District councillors on Monday.

The canteen at Cumann Iosaef operates five days a week. The staff there provided 28,816 meals in 2017, 16,289 of these were for children.

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Cumann Iosaef is regarded as a semi-commercial organisation and because of this, the Government will not allow Pobal — which manages funding programmes on behalf of the Government — to cover the increased costs of the minimum wage, which went up by 30 cent an hour on January 1.

Mr O’Connor said they do not have the funds to cover this extra cost. Pobal’s instructions are that they must pay the legal minimum wage, but they must generate revenue to cover the increased costs.

He said that could mean having to increase the charges for meals for old and vulnerable people to source the income or, alternatively, withdrawing a meal from those who cannot pay. Mr O’Connor said they obviously do not want to do this, because they are real people with real needs.

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They have written to Pobal and the Government in “an effort to convince them that their regulations lack any notion of humanity”.

Mr O’Connor added: “If the managers in the Department cannot, or will not, differentiate between funding services that may be desired within the community, as opposed to the provision of emergency services that are fundamental to the maintenance of the health and wellbeing of individuals, then they know the detrimental impact on people and this is no more than a simplistic numbers game, devoid of any regard for the vulnerable in our society.”

Councillors agreed unanimously to write to the Government to ask them for extra funding to cover the costs and ensure this is not passed on to vulnerable people in society.

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