This book explores the unique and problematic entity known as the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP) in the institutional context of Irish social partnership and the changing political and economic environment over time. It reviews existing theoretical accounts of Irish social pacts with reference to the role or significance of the CVP, and explores new theoretical perspectives that might contribute to a better understanding of the CVP. The book then details empirical investigation of the origins and facets of the CVP through the study of the most pivotal associations in it. It shows that the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) refused to be incorporated and maintained a great degree of independence over the course of its engagement. The NWCI played a successful defensive role in Partnership 2000 (1996) in relation to threats to tax child benefit. Later, a more significant achievement of the NWCI was the early childcare supplement introduced in 2006, which stemmed from recommendations the NWCI had made as early as 1997. The book also considers the development of a distinct and original account of the dynamics of the CVP, termed 'asymmetric engagement'. It explains how small organisations have operated in social partnership, amid the warp and weft of political and economic cycles and shifts in the demos.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the community and voluntary sector participation in social partnership and explores the gap in Irish social science research. It also explores the unique and problematic entity known as the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP, the Pillar), which brought a range of new actors into a tripartite system of social partnership in Ireland from 1996. The book also examines the theoretical level, mainstream interpretations of Irish social partnership, and their limitations in relation to understanding the CVP. It provides an account of the Pillar as a whole, its origins and component organisations, and its broad evolution over time. The book discusses a fresh perspective and broader basis for understanding some of the unique properties of the Pillar. It describes the use of a case study methodology.
This chapter provides the number of approaches in order to set the scene for examining the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP). It discusses both historical and comparative perspectives. The chapter explores the variety of sceptical perspectives on the Irish model of social partnership. It also explores neo-corporatist literature approach in more detail, in historical and comparative perspective. The chapter examines the Irish experience from 1987 as a variant of the 'new social pacts' to emerge internationally since the 1980s. It describes the differing interpretations of the significance of the innovation of the CVP. Bill Roche developed his analysis to deal with the emergence of the CVP and a wider policy agenda in social partnership in the 1990s. He identified the concatenation of four key elements: centralised wage bargaining; networking subsystems; regulatory and trouble-shooting mechanisms; and social buffering.
This chapter explores the broader theoretical issues of Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP), and considers the efficacy of associations and social mobilisation in a wider context of power. The use of the case study approach should shed light on each of these interpretations. Many political scientists expressed concern about declining interest in politics and participation in the democratic process, and about the increasing dominance of the 'new right' in politics. Crouch's panorama may be viewed in the Irish case as part of a wider intellectual context for examining the 'new' social groups and identities which have become actively engaged in political processes and policy change. The chapter looks at the concepts of power and legitimacy. The CVP might be considered as lacking leverage, as compared to the state or the other social partners, who have real bargaining power.
This chapter sets out the reasons for undertaking a case study of the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP). The study of the CVP provides a focus for examining one of the most innovative elements in the Irish social pacts that emerged from 1987. New conceptual tools are needed to capture the distinctive character of the Pillar and the different modalities in effect. Case studies are particularly suited to exploratory analysis of seemingly unique and unknown terrain, which applies to the Pillar. Yin outlines four broad types of study design based on this approach comprising: single-case holistic design; single-case embedded design; multiple-case holistic design; and multiple-case embedded design. In relation to the timeframe, it was necessary to limit the period covered by the study but difficult to fix an exact cut-off point for all organisations.
This chapter presents an overview of the circumstances and steps leading to the emergence of the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP). It sets out how, from the late 1980s, new elements of civil society began to engage with parts of government. The chapter identifies the key political and economic circumstances and institutional developments in relation to CVP. It describes the composition of the CVP and a significant component of the CVP, the Community Platform. The chapter presents a brief overview of how Pillar and Platform evolved over time. Irish social partnership was also very consciously constructed in the shadow of developments at European Community level, including the recognition given under the European Union (EU) Commission, led by Jacques Delors, to 'social dialogue'. One of the distinctive features of the new phase of social partnership in Ireland was its hybrid character.
This chapter reviews the origins of the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU), its aims and philosophy, objectives and relations with other civil society actors and the state, up to and in the course of social partnership. It seeks to bring out the experience of the INOU in social partnership as a good illustration of the concept of asymmetric engagement in the case of the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP). The founders of the INOU were trade union-minded, and regarded the employed and unemployed as sharing a broadly common economic interest. The INOU's first general secretary was Eugene Hickland and he was succeeded by Mike Allen, both originally from the Galway Association of the Unemployed. One great difficulty for the INOU and local centres was to create a positive sense of identity and motivation for the unemployed.
This chapter starts by examining the origins and outlook of the Community Workers' Co-operative (CWC, the Co-op) in the early 1980s, highlighting its focus on community empowerment, which informed its practice over subsequent years. It focuses on the Co-op's shift from critique to engagement and negotiation by the CWC with government. The chapter reviews the process of becoming a social partner and the Co-op's initiation of the Community Platform, which it hoped would be recognised by government and the existing social partners as the community sector social partner. It deals with the implications for the Co-op of prosperity after 1997. The CWC distinguished between the self-organising community sector and the traditionally philanthropic 'voluntary sector'. The Co-op stressed the importance to democracy of a tension between dissenting communities and representative government.
The Conference of Religious in Ireland (Justice Commission)
This chapter explores some of the paradoxes of Commission of the Conference of Religious in Ireland (CORI) Justice's circumstances and attempts to identify the formula of its successful ascent in the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP) of social partnership. It looks at the origins and in particular the distinctive outlook and analysis of CORI Justice. In particular there is a brief examination of its interpretation of Catholic social teaching. Catholic social teaching is infused with a pragmatic social reformism that goes well beyond the dominant approach of Irish Catholicism or the historic corpus of Catholic social teaching that informed social policy in continental Europe from the 1890s. The chapter reveals how CORI Justice proved adept not only in relation to the macro environment but also in the conduct of its tactics vis-a- vis allies in the CVP.
This chapter looks at the dimension of gender through the lens of the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI, the Council), which became involved in social partnership as one of the key components of the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP). It begins by setting the scene in relation to the changing social division of labour and the circumstances and economic role of women in Irish society. The chapter examines the emergence of the NWCI, and notes in particular its leftward trajectory in the early 1990s. It reviews the engagement with the state initially when invited to participate in the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF), from 1993, and then in relation to Partnership 2000. The chapter deals with the NWCI experience of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) and its rejection of Sustaining Progress in 2003, for which it was excluded from social partnership, before its return in 2007.