THE chief executive of West Cork Development Partnership (WCDP), Ian Dempsey, has confirmed that its board is to appeal the decision awarding the Leader tender to the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC).
The WCDP had been administering the Leader fund since 1991, but an independent committee selected the LCDC, which was formed under the terms of new local government legislation introduced in 2014, to administer the latest round of funding.
Ian Dempsey confirmed to The Southern Star that the WCDP board met on Monday night and unanimously decided ‘to exercise its right to make a comprehensive appeal to the decision as it now stands’.
The appeal has to be lodged within 20 days of the original decision – which was communicated to WCDP on Friday, June 24th – and the independent committee that selected the LCDC has a further 20 days after the July 22nd deadline to review the appeal and finalise matters.
Because of the appeal, Mr Dempsey said: ‘We are precluded from commenting on this matter in the public arena.’
However, one rural development researcher, Durrus-based Dr Caroline Crowley, has decided to make the issue public and sent an open letter to all of West Cork’s public representatives.
Dr Crowley told The Southern Star: ‘I was dismayed to learn of the outcome of the independent selection committee on Leader in West Cork. As a volunteer in community development for years in local community groups, I saw daily how WCDP’s delivery of Leader funding through community-wide and local enterprise projects has benefitted both its society and economy in so many ways.
‘Their expertise in successfully and fairly delivering community-led, bottom-up development programmes was confirmed last year by the Government when they were selected to implement the 2015 to 2017 Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) across West Cork on behalf of Pobal.’
Dr Crowley said: ‘The people of West Cork need answers from their public representatives and the independent selection committee as to why they made this decision.’