A new way of funding local groups would lead to communities “at each others throats”, according to Brian Stanley.
The Laois Sinn Féin TD claims that Laois Partnership could suffer under plans to bring LEADER and the Local Community Development Programme under the county manager’s remit and to effectively privatise the provision of its services.
“Thousands of jobs have been created by LCDPs over the years, and they provide a wide range of services to the community. They are in fact one of the few successful examples of social inclusion schemes in this state. It is ironic therefore that at a time when the EU has held up the Irish model, the government is planning to undermine it.
“It makes no sense to have community groups at one another’s throats, tendering for schemes and competing for funds, and it would be an absolute disaster if such schemes were to be tendered out to private companies whose only interest is making a profit,” he said.
Over the five years, he said 434 projects have been helped by Laois Partnership. In 2013 they assisted 150 people in gaining work and helped 119 small businesses. Some 108 children in disadvantaged areas attend pre and after school projects. He said Laois Partnership also manages local community employment schemes and provide many courses.