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Avondhu Leader group ‘hit the ground running' in West Cork

February 17th, 2017 9:55 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy: great to see new Leader up and running after a break

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COUNCILLORS were recently given an update on the progress of the West Cork Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), who are delivering the Leader programme across West Cork for the period 2016-2020. 

However, at a meeting of the Western Committee in Clonakilty, some councillors expressed concern about the information that is available to community groups.

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) described the situation with the funding like ‘going to a rugby match where no one knows what’s going on.’

‘No one knows what’s going on and we would need a few days in a course on it,’ said Cllr Carroll.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind),  who is a member of the LCDC, said he can assure Cllr Carroll that they all know what’s happening.

‘I’d like to compliment the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership who have hit the ground running and it’s a bit disingenuous with some of the comments made here,’ said Cllr Hurley.

‘We are open for business and if members feel they’re not being informed enough, then come and talk to the four councillors who are members of the LCDC.’

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said there was a gaping deficit in the information out there but that all the members have a duty to understand what’s going on. Cllr Rachel McCarthy (SF) said it’s not the same Leader programme as was developed before and the amount of funding is different, as are those running it.

‘We’re all adjusting to it and it has been confusing but we’re up and running and the feedback so far has been very good and the help for community groups is first class,’ said Cllr McCarthy.

‘We did say we would write to the Minister to ask for extra funding but the point is that it’s up and running and funding is available for community groups.’ Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said it was great to see the new Leader programme up and running after a hiatus for a while.

‘However there has been a serious decrease in funding for West Cork and the scale of the projects we can fund is quite hindered now and large scale projects are now curtailed,’ said Cllr Murphy.

Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) concurred with his colleague on the reduced funding for West Cork: ‘Some of the best projects were over €100,000 and especially the tourism-related ones liked the Pod Village in Drimoleague and potential projects will be effected by the drop in funding.’

Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said the website is good but pointed out that there was confusion about the deadlines for applications and that there was a short time to make groups aware of expressions of interest.

Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said that they need to re-iterate that funding is available and said that obviously at the start it might experience some teething problems.

Leader West Cork will manage the allocation of just over €5m through three local development companies operating in the West Cork Council division: Avondhu Blackwater Partnerships, SECAD and Comhar na nOileán. See www.leaderwestcork.com for more.

The former firm which delivered Leader to West Cork, the West Cork Development Partnership (WCDP), was an unsuccessful applicant in the bid to distribute EU Leader funding, when the contract came up for renewal last year.

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