The Irish Local Development Network, representing Ireland 49 Local Development Companies (LDCs), have today welcomed the publication of a paper by the National Economic Social Committee (NESC) reviewing the COVID-19 Community Call.

Commenting on the publication, ILDN CEO Joe Saunders said; “our member Local Development Companies have made a significant contribution in local communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With the assistance of the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP), members responded to 2,200 calls daily at the height of the 2020 lockdown period. While LDCs provided a myriad of supports in their communities the areas of food provision and supports with IT infrastructure featured prominently in our members activities nationwide.

Responding to the paper’s identification of food poverty and the digital divide as issues with the potential to becoming long term problems, Mr Saunders said; “Local Development Companies with the assistance of SICAP have proven throughout the pandemic that they have the capacity to meet the needs of local communities to address challenges in the areas of food poverty and the digital divide. An appropriately funded SICAP can equip our members to tackle these issues head on. The SICAP budgets stand at 50% of what it was in 2008. This is a matter which merits consideration in the consideration of the forthcoming National Recovery & Resilience Plan and Budget 2022.”