Today, CEO of IRD Duhallow Maura Walsh speaks at a conference in Lisbon, Portugal on Ireland's highly praised bottom-up local development model. The conference entitled "LEADER and CLLD in 2014 - 2020 Programming Period" is hosted by the Portuguese National Rural Network and Federation Minha Terra. Maura will speak of Ireland's well regarded bottom-up LEADER delivery model which has delivered positive results for rural communities in Ireland for over twenty years.
This is the second leg of a European speaking tour for Ms. Walsh who on Tuesday, 27th November addressed a conference in Slovakia organised by the National Network of Slovak Local Action Groups on the theme of "Rural Development Now Days and Rural Development in the New Programming Period".
Congratulations to Blanchardstown Area Partnership who have won the Not For Profit Organisation Business Excellence Award for 2012 at this years Fingal Business Excellence Awards.
This award is for the organisation that is able to meet the ever changing needs of the local community, and one which can demonstrate strong and accountable governance.
In winning the Not For Profit Organisation Business Excellence Award, the judges said that Blanchardstown Area Partnership provided excellent evidence of their ability to provide well planned and executed programmes that have had a measurable and beneficial effect on the local community.
The Chairman of Blanchardstown Area Partnership, Councillor Kieran Dennison said he was delighted for the management and the staff of the Partnership. “This award is recognition of the way the Partnership has managed to adapt and deliver for the local community on ever tighter budgets. These are challenging times for all organisations and particularly those dependent on government funding. Our CEO Linda Curran and her staff are well deserving of this award”.
The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) today spoke out on the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government’s reform document, ‘Putting People First’. ILDN, which represents local development companies in Ireland, was openly critical of the Department’s plans to demote Ireland’s highly effective local development model and called on Minister Hogan to meet with them to address their concerns.
“The EU Commission acknowledges that the Irish development company model is one of the best in Europe. Irish Local Development Companies are effective in channelling an average of €150 – 200 million in funding each year from a range of funding programmes directly into actions needed by communities – creating jobs, supporting enterprise and tackling poverty and social exclusion. It makes no senses to threaten to demote and demolish these proven local and community led structures which have over twenty years experience delivering real outcomes”, stated Ryan Howard, ILDN spokesperson.
While much of the initial reaction to Minister Phil Hogan’s local government reform document ‘Putting People First’ centred on proposals to abolish town councils, the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) believes that the proposed reform will not deliver improved outcomes for local communities as it endangers the bottom-up economic, social and community development model currently delivered by 51 local development companies throughout Ireland.
“We certainly agree that the local authority should be involved in improving the coordination and planning of local development and we welcome certain aspects of Putting People First which suggest this. However, we need to be careful not to damage structures that have a long established connection with communities and that have been highly effective in drawing down and distributing EU and national funding”, Mr Howard added.
When it comes to delivering jobs and enterprise development, the figures speak for themselves. In a 2011 ILDN survey, 42 local development companies reported having:
- Supported 8,741 people into employment
- Supported 26,656 people into education or training
- Supported 5,048 into labour market programmes
- Supported 5,042 people into self-employment
Additionally, Local Development Companies are assisting thousands of community initiatives every year.
Today, ILDN are asking what justifies removing a proven, effective and respected set of local structures and are calling on Minister Hogan and his Department to ensure that twenty years good practice, experience and results are valued and protected rather than duplicated and displaced by unproven models of local development.