Communities 'at heart of recovery'
The needs of communities across Ireland must be heart of any plans for economic recovery, local groups have urged.
The Irish National Community and Voluntary Forum (INCVF) said groups must be consulted on decisions taken by Government, the private sector and trade unions.
The forum represents some 22,000 community organisations across Ireland.
Chair Tom McGettrick said: "We have a plethora of organisations representing workers, employers, the young, the old, business owners and many others.
"They are all doing very valid work, and have genuine concerns about those that they represent.
"However, because we have designed our national consultative and negotiating processes around sectoral interests, these groups often forget that they should consider the needs of the wider community."
Mr McGettrick told delegates in Dublin that the INCVF is well placed to work with Government and other bodies to help contribute to the recovery, without representing any sectoral interest.
"Our organisation has huge width and breadth. Our members are from every corner and every social stratum in Ireland," he continued.
"This means that by consulting us, every interest is represented, but they will always be wearing their community 'hats'."