Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Community Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has accused the Minister for the Environment of a lack of consultation and transparency in the delivery of community services.
Deputy Ó Cuív was speaking ahead of a Dáil Private Members Motion (PMB) this evening calling on the Government to defend the partnership ethos of local development companies. He said there has been a lack of meaningful consultation and transparency to date in the change process for the delivery of local community services, including the LEADER programme.
He commented: “Instead of simplifying the process and streamlining the delivery structures, the Minister is adding further layers of bureaucracy, which is creating employment uncertainty. There is also a danger of contract work done locally being lost to large multinational companies with no roots in the local areas. The previous Government set up a simple streamlining system to include vital social inclusion programmes such as LEADER, Tús, the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) etc… The system had very good community buy-in and it was working efficiently. Rather than building on this solid foundation and further streamlining where possible, the Minister has changed the whole system and therefore put the whole work of the programmes in jeopardy.
“The Department recently has recently gone to tender for the social inclusion programme, it has very large terms of reference and also has conditions that excludes existing companies from tendering. The Department has not even clarified the breakdown of the areas in which these programmes will be decided for each successful tenderer.
“Fianna Fáil is calling on Minster Hogan to stop this process immediately and to refer the whole reorganisation of the delivery of community based programmes to the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, in particular the terms of the proposed tender document recently issued by Pobal on behalf of the Department.”