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Ní Riada meets with IRD Duhallow in Brussels to discuss proposed changes to LEADER Programme

26 June, 2014 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada has today met with a delegation from IRD Duhallow in Brussels to discuss the plans of the Irish government to change the way in which LEADER funding is administered in this state.

Speaking following the meeting, Ní Riada said:

“Local development organisations such as IRD Duhallow have grave and pertinent concerns regarding the changes proposed by the Irish Government to the way LEADER funding is administered.

“The planned changes will see the management of funding being transferred away from local development partnerships to local authority led entities.

“Sinn Féin has been very vocal in our opposition to the government’s plan as it goes against the community-led, bottom-up approach which has been recognised by the EU as best-practice for local development.

“This is underscored by the fact that the Government’s plan has twice been presented to the European Commission and the proposals have been rejected on both occasions.

“We are also extremely concerned as the plans will see certain programmes being put out for public tendering. This will allow for-profit companies and multi-nationals to apply to run the programmes. Profit will become the central aim of the services.

“There will be especially devastating consequences for programmes centred on social inclusion and tackling poverty if local development organisations lose core programmes to for-profit companies. There is also the danger that many of these development organisations will be forced to close as they do not have the resources to compete with multi-nationals.

“We will lose the expertise built-up by these organisations and consequentially we will lose the community-based ethos at the heart of local development in Ireland.

“The reality is that the Government’s plan is focused on the privatisation of local development work.

“I will be putting Parliamentary Questions to the commission about the legality of the new structure proposed by the Irish government with a particular focus on the subcontracting of funding.”

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