SINN Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the public to take part in the consultation process for the proposed Local Development Strategy (LDS), which will be put forward by West Cork Development Partnership (WCDP) for the EU-funded LEADER programme.
Liadh Ní Riada said she was delighted that the WCDP had been given the go-ahead to prepare and submit a local development strategy for the new LEADER scheme.
‘WCDP is embedded in the community, has a proven track record and is well-placed to develop, and crucially, to implement a strategy for the region around the themes of social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development,’ she said, adding that she was now urging the public to get behind their development partnership and to feed their ideas, concerns and priorities into that strategy. ‘WCDP will engage in a wide-ranging consultation process across West Cork, and this is your opportunity to identify the needs of your community and to make suggestions.
‘The overall fund for Ireland has been reduced, and the allocation for Co Cork has been disproportionately cut by the Fine Gael and Labour Government,’ she explained.
‘The mishandling of the LEADER element of the rural development programme by Government has led to confusion and delays, and I still have serious concerns about the eventual roll-out of the scheme,’ she added. ‘If we want a fair recovery that is sustainable and balanced we need to see strategic development in rural Ireland, and in the South and West. LEADER provides the means and opportunity to promote economic development, support enterprise and create jobs, as well as tackling social exclusion and rural poverty.’
She reiterated her call to Government to recognise the expertise, experience and track record of companies like WCDP, and to expedite the process so that communities can begin to benefit from the vital development funds.
If you wish to have your say on strategy for West Cork visit www.wcdp.ie, call WCDP on 023 8834035, or keep an eye on the Star for details of public events.