Community development

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Final stages of the Community Development Programme

Asked by Finian McGrath (ind, Dublin NC) about the former projects of the Community Development Programme, the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Frances Fitzgerald told him that the department was progressing with the integration of 140 Community Development Projects (CDPs), either through local development companies or an alternative mechanism (Dail Eireann, Debates, 14th April 2011, 255-7).  This had largely been completed by the end of March 2011.

To date, six alternative models had been approved, including a proposal from Northside Partnership for a reduction of structures from five to two in its catchment area.  Three CDPs had formally opted out of the programme and were no longer funded, including a Kilbarrack project.  Following an evaluation, 29 projects had not been recommended for continued funding and 24 appeals had been made to the department.  The appeals board completed its work on 29th January 2011, its report being published.  In 10 cases, the decision was overturned.  Following the review process, funding was withdrawn from three CDPs in the north inner city.

Her department had asked local development companies, including Northside Partnership, for proposals to fill any gaps in services arising and a number of proposals were being examined.  Overall funding in 2011 was only marginally reduced from 2010, by -3%, and she was confident that this would enable support for disadvantaged communities, especially frontline services, to be maintained.  She assured him that protecting the most vulnerable was a government priority: ‘we want to ensure that these programmes survive and we are looking for greater efficiencies.  We are looking to take some of the onerous pressures off the management of the community groups by coordinating things at macro level…This means change and that has been difficult for some of the groups.  I acknowledge that and I know it from meeting some of the groups.  However, once the services and jobs are being protected, they have welcomed the reorganization’.  Later, she re-iterated her confidence that current funding would allow for a continuation of important supports for people in disadvantaged communities (Dail Eireann, Debates, 14th April 2011, 286).