Historically Irish society has had a long tradition of grass roots voluntary community work. However, with the rise of neoliberalism in the 1990s, the Irish community and voluntary sector became increasingly subjected to government controls and restrictions. As a result, voluntary community work became more formally organised, centrally regulated and depoliticised. Such ‘organised voluntarism’ (Fye and Mulligan in Prog Hum Geogr 27:397–413, 2003) has since become part and parcel of contemporary community development initiatives in Ireland. While some UK research has explored the impact that this discursive and policy shift is having on volunteering, there is a dearth of Irish literature on this issue. This article presents an account of how and why this form of voluntarism took hold in contemporary Ireland. The establishment of Family Resource Centres in Ireland will be recalled and assessed to further illustrate the observations being made about organised voluntarism in Ireland.
- Family resource centres
- Organised voluntarism