Bishop Kevin Doran attended a meeting on Monday night to discuss the future direction of the Boyle Family Life Centre.
The Diocese of Elphin issued the following statement on Tuesday morning:
Boyle Family Life Centre was founded by Bishop Dominic Conway in 1987 with the practical support of the parish communities around Boyle as well as other members of the wider community. It was originally established for the purpose of providing a diocesan response to the needs of families. Those services have developed significantly over the intervening years.
Many of the services are funded by Tusla (the Child and Family Agency), under its Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme. It is a requirement of that Programme that Family Resource Centres would be incorporated as Companies Limited by Guarantee. The Diocese of Elphin is in agreement with this policy, as it provides a level of public accountability and transparency, which is appropriate to a charity in receipt of public funding.
In October 2015, Tusla clarified to the Diocese in writing, that it would “conflict with the ethos of the Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme” for an organisation (funded under the programme) to have a statement of denominational ethos written into its governance document. This in effect means that Tusla is only willing to partner with Boyle Family Life Centre, if we were willing to operate without reference to our ethos.
While wishing to protect our freedom to act in accordance with our ethos, it is a primary concern of the Diocese of Elphin to ensure that:
• the very valuable work being done by Boyle Family Life Centre, under the Family Resource Centre Programme can continue and
• that the employment of staff is secured
In consultation with the voluntary management committee and the staff of the Centre, Bishop Kevin Doran has reluctantly accepted that the services funded by Tusla are unlikely to receive funding unless they are gathered together under the management of a new limited company, which will not have any formal connection to the Diocese of Elphin.
The Diocese is currently working with staff and local stakeholders towards the establishment of that new company which, subject to agreement with the Diocese, may continue to operate out of the existing Family Life Centre premises. Boyle Family Life Centre will, in the meantime, continue to operate as an agency of the Diocese of Elphin, to provide services from a faith perspective with a particular focus on the needs of families.
It is hoped that the two agencies, having grown out of the one root and having much in common may be able, while each retaining its own unique ethos, to cooperate on many levels, in a spirit of true partnership and mutual respect.
NOTE: A briefing meeting for the public was held in Boyle on Monday 14th March. The Diocese of Elphin will keep the public informed of future developments and has no further comment to make at this stage.