By BRIAN MOORE
A WAR of words has broken out between the West Cork Development Partnership (WCDP) and Cork County Council chief Tim Lucey.
In a letter to The Southern Star, WCDP CEO Ian Dempsey disputes comments by Mr Lucey in last week’s paper which stated that the WCDP refused to work in partnership with the local authority and the LCDC when it came to administering Leader funding.
Mr Lucey had said: ‘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 CCC ….’
However, Mr Dempsey claims no such meetings were sought by the local authority to discuss any partnership approach. ‘Despite such grandiose claims, the Council did nothing of the sort,’ he says.
‘For the record, it should be mentioned that the sole attempt to build “a partnership and collaborative approach” was made by the WCDP which sought to ensure a new partnership to accommodate all stakeholders in West Cork.’
Mr Dempsey went on to state that he does not understand how the three companies – South & East Cork Area Development, Midleton; the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership in Castletownroche, and Comhar na nOileáin (Aran Islands) – could provide local expertise for Leader in this area.
The WCDP has appealed the decision regarding delivery of Leader in West Cork. And Mr Dempsey said the Leader budget cuts would means jobs would be lost: ‘The appeal was lodged on July 21st last with the understanding that it would be completed within 20 working days. The WCDP understands that a meeting was held on September 6th but it has received no communication since then. The reduction of the Leader budget here by 70% inevitably means that jobs will be lost.’
In reply to a copy of Mr Dempsey’s letter to The Southern Star, published in full on page 15, Cork County Council said the West Cork Local Community Development Committee established by the County Council was ‘the most extensive local development partnership currently operating in West Cork’. It said Mr Dempsey is a member of this committee. ‘It is important that all the key players work together to best serve the people of West Cork.’