For the second time in a week the Government has postponed the announcement of community development funding which is expected to see significant funding cuts and possible job losses in the sector.
The legal tendering process, which was originally due to be announced on the 18th of February, was initially deferred until the 25th of February. Now it has been pushed back yet again to the 2nd of March.
Responding to the delay the leader of the Fianna Fáil Group in Dublin City, Cllr Paul McAuliffe said, “The tendering process has now descended into a complete farce and is extremely unfair on the staff working in the sector. They are literally waiting on the axe to drop each time the deadline is moved. The deferrals are cruel on those that are affected.
“The tendering process was designed to introduce €742,000 in cuts through the back door. In my own locality there are two partnership companies, Tolka Area Partnership and Ballymun Whitehall Partnership, and they have been forced to tender for the same contract. One of these organisations will have serious issues to consider including redundancies and the closure of programmes following the tendering process. As a public representative, it remains unclear to me what will happen to the staff and community programmes that currently operate in areas like Finglas and Ballymun.
“Dublin City Council’s Local Community Development Committee has made its decision but has not been allowed to announce the results of the tendering process. This kind of uncertainty and job insecurity will mean the community sector will face a “brain drain” of talented workers who are fed up with uncertainty around their futures.
“It is unfortunate that Minister Kelly could not be upfront about his intention to deliver a significant blow to community organisations by overseeing funding cuts. Instead the Government decided to design a phony tendering process that has pitched different community organisations against each other and wasted thousands of pounds of public money.
“The Government’s handling of the entire process has been a gross waste of effort, energy and resources. “I am calling on the Minister to review his decision to cut funding to community organisations. These groups are already struggling to survive and a further round of funding cuts will be a devastating blow. The Minister needs to put in place a support process that will inform the affected organisations what legal implications and options they now have” said Cllr McAuliffe