Wednesday, 24 April 2013

CS Shake Up "Must Consider Communities and Workers"

THE West Cork Development Partnership met with local Labour TD Michael McCarthy
on Friday, 5th April, to express its concerns over plans by Minister for Environment,
Community and Local Government Phil Hogan to radically alter existing funding and management structures for community services.
 The West Cork Development Partnership currently delivers a wide range of essential community,tourism, agri-support, eldercare and employment projects across the
West Cork region.The Government’s local government reform document Putting People
First sets out an “alignment” between local authorities and LDCs that will have major impact for both workers and local community services. This alignment is due to be completed in the coming months. More than 50 Local Development Companies based throughout every county in the State currently deliver a range of quality community-based services with regard to enterprise, education and training in areas of disadvantage. Under the Minister’s plans, close to half of these companies will close.
 SIPTU claims proposals to “align” these services within local government structures also put millions of euro of European funding at risk. Speaking after the meeting SIPTU Organiser, Trevor Quinn, told Liberty: “Michael McCarthy expressed support for our view that there should be a worker representative added to the Implementation Group charged with overseeing this ‘alignment’. “Michael is chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Environment Culture and Gaeltacht, and so his voice should carry some weight. We welcome his support for SIPTU’s position on the Minister’s plans.”
 He added: “If Minister Hogan is intent on making such big decisions about our jobs and our local services the least we would expect is a process of consultation with our union about these plans and their implications for both employees and the communities
they work with.“The bottom-up approach of independent Local Development
Companies has been internationally recognised as a best practice model.
“The independent nature of these companies is also a stipulation for continued receipt of millions of euro in European rural development funding. Any change must consider the interests of communities and workers.”

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