Community development

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Funding for the RAPID programme of investment in disadvantaged urban areas and its coordinators was discussed when the Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Fergus O’Dowd, gave details to Timmy Dooley (FF, Clare) (Dail Eireann, Debates, 16th July 2013, 34-6).  The department was unable to contribute to the costs of RAPID coordinators in 2013, but the local government fund continued to provide general purpose funding for the operational costs of local authorities.  He understood that seven local authorities currently employed full-time RAPID coordinators but that in other local authorities this role was combined with other functions.


Barry Cowen (FF, Laois Offaly) said that it could easily be inferred from this that the government had little or no interest in urban social deprivation.  The minister of state said he accepted that there were financial difficulties, but RAPID was a priority budget.  It was €3.276m in 2004 and €3.077m in 2013, which was not an insignificant amount of money granted our financial difficulties.  Of course, he would like to give it more, but this was the reality in which they must work.  In 2011 it had been €2.269m, so the money was significantly increased, although it was nothing like what he wanted it to be.  The priority was clear.


Asked about RAPID funding later by Michael McGrath (FF, Cork SC), the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan told him that the €2m committed in 2013 would go to meet existing contractual commitments, especially sports and CCTV (Dail Eireann, Debates, 16th July 2013, 163).  Later, he told Robert Troy (FF, Longford Westmeath) that no meetings of the national monitoring committee were scheduled (Dail Eireann, Debates, 16th July 2013, 152).