Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State for Community Development and Charities at the Department of Rural and Community Development, today launched the Irish Local Development Network’s (ILDN) strategic plan 2020-2024 entitled ‘Supporting Local Development Companies to Build Vibrant Inclusive Communities’.  The plan seeks to enable the local development sector build and deliver for communities, particularly the disadvantaged, through the ILDN, and takes account of the COVID-19 challenge which has seen 2,200 persons daily seeking the assistance of local development companies nationwide.   

Speaking at the launch Minister O’Brien said: “I want to acknowledge the support of the Local Development Sector in response to COVID-19.  Given their presence in every community rural and urban, the response has been rapid and widespread assisting the statutory services in reaching people it may not otherwise reach.”

The Minister continued: “The ILDN’s Strategic Plan 2020-2024 sets out their role in facilitating Ireland’s 49 Local Development Companies in the delivery of many important services such as social inclusion, education and training, employment services, urban and rural development, climate change and work to ensure just transition. This plan positions the network as a critical partner in terms of the delivery of these important objectives.  It will also build upon my Department’s Five-Year Strategy to support the Community and Voluntary Sector. ”

The Chairman of the ILDN, Mr. Jim Finn said; “The ILDN provides a channel for stakeholders locally, regionally and nationally to engage with our 49-member Local Development Companies who directly assist over 170,000 individuals and 15,000 communities and community groups annually, as a collective. ILDN acts as a valuable resource for our members in advancing their work.  As we proceed through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ILDN through this strategic plan, further empowers Ireland’s Local Development Companies in building a more just, inclusive and sustainable society.  The strategic plan is focused on giving a coherent voice to the local development sector and those who depend on it, such as individuals, families and communities most at risk of poverty and social exclusion.”

 ILDN Manager, Joe Saunders concluded; “ILDN members deliver over €300 million worth of programmes funded by the Government and philanthropic sources, supporting and empowering communities and enabling the state to reach people it would not otherwise reach, thus ensuring effective use of taxpayers’ funds.  In supporting our members, the ILDN facilitates research, policy development, networking opportunities, group procurement and advocacy.  The strategic direction as detailed in this plan is vitally important not just to the ILDN and its members but also to Irish society generally.”

 The ILDN Strategic Plan sets out key objectives for the network for the period to 2025.  Primarily it is intended that the network establishes itself as a leading voice in policy development in the context of local development.  It seeks to build strategic relationships with key stakeholders across all sectors.  The ILDN will become a platform for its members to network effectively and share experiences.  Finally, the network aims to build structurally from a communications and resource perspective to best serve the needs of the network’s membership.

The full strategic plan can be read here:  Strategic Plan 2020-2024 – Web