The Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government, Alan Kelly T.D. today stated his support for the work of Local Development Companies (LDCs).
The Minister was speaking at the official opening of the LEADER Village at the National Ploughing Championships. The LEADER Village hosts a range of Irish food, craft and tourism projects supported by the Rural Development Programme (LEADER) through Local Development Companies (LDCs).
Minister Kelly said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to open the LEADER village at the ploughing championships today.”
“Today you can visibly see in the stands the contribution local development companies have made to rural development over many years and this is certainly a contribution that I intend to see continue, especially the hard-working voluntary ethos that exists throughout the community development network.”
"Both rural Local Development (LEADER) companies and urban Local Development Companies are based on a ‘community-led’ model of local development, with the implementation of local development strategies and decisions on funding being made at a local level by local people. One of my Department’s key objectives in respect of community development is to improve the quality of life and welfare of our communities, with a particular focus on those communities that are vulnerable or disadvantaged."
“Having recently met with the Irish Local Development Network, we have agreed to work collectively to ensure the benefits LEADER has provided to communities can be sustained into the future. My vision is for a more coordinated and integrated local development model, with local government working together in partnership with local development companies and other stakeholders to deliver a more integrated approach to programme delivery. Local development companies will have a key role in the new governance and programme implementation arrangements.”
“I welcome constructive dialogue between all parties at local level, which will pave the way for a timely introduction of the new LEADER programme. I look forward to working with all key stakeholders in a constructive manner over the coming months.”
“As Minister, I will be ensuring my Department will be taking a pro-active approach to ensure constructive early engagement between the local authorities and local development companies so that the necessary positive changes can be implemented as soon as possible.”
ILDN Chairman, John Walsh said: “There are 50 Local Development Companies in Ireland, both in rural and urban settings. While today we are showcasing our rural development work, our non-profit organisations deliver a range of other programmes that support the long-term unemployed, tackle poverty and social exclusion and assist enterprise creation.“
“We are delighted that the Minister has come here today to show his support for the work of Local Development Companies. Local Development Companies are a unique example of the community-led, bottom-up approach to local development. LDCs have been deeply rooted in their communities for the last 25 years, and we are heartened that the Minister has demonstrated his support for the continuation of our work here today. We look forward to working together and building on this relationship into the future.”