The Vincentian Advocacy Network
Advocacy has always played an important role in bringing about social and economic change. The members of the four groups (Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Daughters of Charity, Vincentian Fathers and Holy Faith Sisters) which constitute the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice are very involved in the direct service of people who are poor or marginalised by society. While they want to see changes in the policies and structures which cause poverty and exclusion they do not have the resources to engage in extensive lobbying of a more just society.
The Vincentian Advocacy Network consists of a network of people who are prepared to advocate for justice by writing letters, making phone calls and/or visiting elected representatives when contacted by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice.
When an issue of importance arises which requires advocacy, the Partnership will:
- Contact the members of the Advocacy Network
- Give them background information on the issue concerned
- And suggest possible action
While this advocacy is strictly non-party political it is at the heart of the call of the Church which states:
“Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appears to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel”
Justice in the World, 1971 Synod of Bishops
Advocacy need not be a complicated matter or require a large amount of time. To become a member of the Advocacy Network merely requires a commitment to write a letter, make a phone call, or to visit an elected representative three or four times a year. Members will be welcome to do further work in the area of advocacy should they have additional time.
The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice has produced ‘A Handbook for Advocacy’ which gives simple guidelines and background information. To-date members of the Advocacy Network have lobbied on a variety of issues – e.g. The Budget, Housing, Refugees and Asylum Seekers; Fair Trade, Plight of Irish Immigrants living in the U.K. World Debt.; and National Health Strategy, Equality Issues
Each year the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice in collaboration with the Vincentian Advocacy Group makes submissions on key current issues e.g.
- Debt and Developement
- Trafficking of Women
- Asylum Seekers
- Irish Emigrants in the UK
- Migrant Workers