By BRIAN MOORE
THERE was widespread support and praise for West Cork Development Partnership’s (WCDP) record in administering Leader funding in West Cork for over 20 years, at a meeting of Cork County Council this week.
Councillors were debating the shock decision in July not to allow WCDP to continue to administer the Leader funds in West Cork.
The WCDP is currently appealing the decision.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) called on the government not to dismiss the WCDP from rolling out the Leader programmes in West Cork.
‘Communities across West Cork are shocked and stunned at the decision that the WCDP will not be administering the Leader programme,’ he said. ‘The WCDP have a proven track record for outstanding work and people are worried that all the good work that has been achieved will now not continuedat the same level as before,’ the Bantry-based Cllr said.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) agreed with Cllr Collins and said that the work of the WCDP is ‘beyond compare’ in supporting local development plans.
‘There isn’t a village or town in West Cork that would not stand testament to the way the WCDP have conducted their work over the last 20 years,’ Cllr Carroll said.
However, while supporting and praising the WCDP, Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) felt that with the appeal process currently ongoing, it may be inappropriate for the matter to be discussed at the moment. ‘The WCDP have done Trojan work across West Cork. However, I do think that we should not be discussing this issue with an appeal in progress,’ Cllr Murphy said.
Cork County Council CEO Tim Lucey reminded the councillors that all three of the Local Community Development Committees (LCDC) tendered for and were awarded the contracts to administer the funds in Cork.
‘All three LCDCs went into this process in partnership with Cork County Council. One group decided to go on their own,’ he said. ‘The Council convened meetings with WCDP representatives over a 12-month period to do everything in its power to encourage a partnership and collaborative approach. WCDP announced from the outset that it would not be prepared to support a partnership approach, and this position remained, despite several meetings initiated by Cork County Council to encourage a collective approach.’
Closing the discussion, County Mayor Seamus McGrath said: ‘It would be inappropriate for this Council to take any position at this time.’
It is believed a decision on the appeal is due shortly.