Local community set to lose €1.6million funding as new council policy is introduced
South Dublin Sinn Féin representative Shaun Tracey has slammed a new policy, introduced by the new Dún Laoghaoire/Rathdown Council Manager Owen Keegan, which bans community and sporting groups from obtaining public leases from the council. Mr. Tracey said the new policy has put in jeopardy €1.6million in funding for a community childcare facility in Ballyogan which community workers in the area have been working on for six years.
Mr. Tracey said, "Ballyogan Community Development Group have secured €1.6million funding from An Phobail for a community childcare facility which they have been working on for the last six years in conjunction with the council. However, this funding is conditional on the community obtaining a public lease which the council are now refusing to provide due to this new policy.
"While I share some of Mr. Keegan's concerns regarding the limited land resources in the County I do not believe that a total blanket ban on leases for community and sporting groups is the best policy as it puts many genuine and valuable projects in jeopardy such as the one in Ballyogan. A policy of case by case consideration would be much preferable.
"There are plans for a childcare facility in Ballyogan which will be built by the council. However, this facility will be owned by the council and the Ballyogan group are not guaranteed any involvement in the running of it. This is unacceptable. Community activists in Ballyogan have worked long and hard for a childcare facility for Ballyogan, to be run by people in Ballyogan for the people of Ballyogan and just when this was finally within their grasp the council has snatched it from them.
"My colleagues in Leinster House have contacted the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government Dick Roche and I have been in direct contact with Mr. Keegan in relation to this issue but despite the efforts of many in Ballyogan it seems the funding is destined to be sent back to Europe. I am calling on all councillors in Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council to oppose this new policy which seems to have been introduced without their consent. They have the power to overturn this decision and I would urge them to do so with the utmost urgency before the funding for Ballyogan is gone forever." ENDS