Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Questions (384, 385)

Pat Carey


460 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason his Department has taken a decision to cease funding to the Sherkin Island community development programme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4344/04]

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Róisín Shortall


461 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the details of the funding which has been withdrawn from the local community development programme on Sherkin Island, County Cork; the reasons for the withdrawal of such funding; and if he will review this decision in view of the potential effects on community development and activity on the island. [3574/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 460 and 461 together.

Sherkin Island Development Society — SIDS — Limited has received funding under the community development programme since 1997. This funding primarily allows the project to employ a development officer and an administrative assistant, in addition to covering administrative costs and overheads associated with maintaining a premises.

My Department has been concerned for some time that the SIDS project has not been achieving the primary aim of the community development programme, i.e., the empowerment of the local community to address, in a participative manner, the issues identified as important to the community as a whole. Following an investigation, my Department concluded that SIDS has failed to maintain appropriate procedures and has shown a weakness in terms of community development and conflict resolution skills. In the circumstances, I am of the view that the Sherkin community would not be served by the continuation of the project as presently constituted. The management of SIDS have been informed that funding is to be withdrawn with effect from 31 March 2004. I should point out, however, that it is my intention to examine the future development needs of the Sherkin community. The Sherkin community will be consulted as part of this process.