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We must learn lessons from the UK riots

Cork East Fine Gael TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, David Stanton, has called on the Government to instruct all State bodies and semi-state companies to take account of the need for corporate social responsibility.

“The glaring spotlight of the world’s media was focussed on the London riots last week, and the shocking events have sparked a crucial debate on moral, social and civic responsibility. We should, at the very least, aim to learn from these events. I believe the Government can take the lead here by underlining the need for State bodies to take a progressive and benevolent approach to corporate social responsibility.

“I am calling on the Government to instruct State agencies, semi-state companies, Government departments and local authorities to take a strong stance when it comes to this issue. These bodies should be encouraged to incorporate a sense of civic duty within their operations.

“This could have practical and positive benefits for local youth and sporting organisations. There are surely many instances where property and lands under partial or total State ownership are vacant and could be used by these community groups.

“We have seen the impact of societal breakdown in the UK. Youth organisations at community level play a very important part in providing activities and outlets for young people. While this cannot prevent every problem or provide every solution it certainly can be very important for social cohesion and personal development.

“Many companies within the private sector have already taken the lead on this issue, and there’s no reason why State bodies should not have clearly defined policies aimed at promoting social inclusion.

“I would like to see the Government develop a proactive policy in this regard and instruct all State bodies to take cognisance of this need. Such bodies should highlight in their annual reports to Ministers the steps being taken to improve their corporate social responsibility.”