Kerry Politicians Turn out in Force to Hear Concerns of Local Development Companies

TDs and Senators from Kerry turned out in force for an event in Dublin last week, attended by representatives from North East Kerry Development, South Kerry Development Partnership and IRD Duhallow. The event, which took place on Wednesday, 23rd January, was organised by the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN), the representative body for Ireland’s 50 local development companies including the aforementioned.

The aim of the ILDN event was to highlight concerns amongst local development companies about how proposed local government reforms could impact negatively on community-led local development.  According to the ILDN, the reforms proposed in the ‘Putting People First’ report –published recently by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government – place up to 2,000 jobs at risk in local development companies and sideline the community and voluntary sector.

John Walsh, Acting Chairperson of the ILDN, said: “We organised this event in Dublin to demonstrate to national politicians how concerned we are about the local government reform proposals.  We were delighted with the political response to the event.  Almost 150 TDs and Senators attended, and – generally – politicians were very willing to listen to our concerns and to offer us support.”

Politicians in attendance from Kerry included: Martin Ferris TD, Tom Fleming TD, Brendan Griffin TD, Michael Healy-Rae TD, Senator Paul Coghlan, Senator Mark Daly, Senator Marie Moloney, Senator Tom Sheahan and Jordan Eis, parliamentary assistant to Arthur Spring TD.  At the Dublin event, they received briefings from Eamon O’Reilly, CEO, North East Kerry Development; Bernard Collins, CEO, North East Kerry Development; Noel Spillane, CEO, South Kerry Development Partnership; Sheila Casey, Vice-chair, South Kerry Development Partnership; Jack Roche, Board member, IRD Duhallow, Noel Dillon, Board member IRD Duhallow; and Triona Murphy, Staff member, IRD Duhallow.

Bernard Collins (NEKD), Sheila Casey (Vice Chair SKDP), Senator Paul Coghlan & Noel Spillane (CEO SKDP)

Speaking in the aftermath of the event, Bernard Collins, Chairperson of North East Kerry Development said: “The Government’s proposals for local government reform put vital services to communities at risk and seriously threaten the future of local development companies.  These proposals could potentially wipe out 20 years of experience in the planning and delivery of local development programmes.

“Our sector currently employs over 2,000 people and delivers a range of labour market, enterprise and anti-poverty programmes in a way that is cost-effective and delivers value for money.  If the local government reforms go ahead, our model of community-led local development will be destroyed; there will be job losses within local development companies; and local development companies will be forced to close”

Under the local government reform proposals, new structures – known as Socio-Economic Committees – would manage and disburse all local development funding, including future rounds of the LEADER and Local and Community Development Programmes, both of which are currently administered by local development companies.  The new Committees would be led and administered by local authorities.

“Transferring the management of LEADER and the Local and Community Development Programme to the new Socio-Economic Committees would leave local development companies without any core funding,” said Bernard Collins.  “This reform would basically result in decision-making and funding being removed from community-led bodies with a proven track record of success, and placed in the hands of local authorities.

“This makes absolutely no sense: the current system of local development in Ireland is viewed as a model of best practice at European level.  The European Court of Auditors, for example, has strongly criticised the excessive involvement of local authorities in the implementation of LEADER in other countries, so it is unlikely the changes being proposed by the Government would be welcomed at European level.

“At the event in Dublin last week, we explained to the Co. Kerry politicians who attended how the local government reforms will destroy community-led local development if they go ahead.  The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government has agreed to discuss our concerns with us over the coming weeks, which is a move we welcome.  In the meantime, we will maintain ongoing contact with our local TDs and Senators in relation to this issue.”

An ILDN survey conducted last year showed that, in 2011, local development companies in Kerry supported:

  • 1,082 people into employment.
  • 287 people into self-employment.
  • 1,638 people into education or training.
  • 471 people into labour market programmes.

Bernard Collins said the ILDN and local development companies throughout Ireland will continue their campaign over the coming weeks to highlight to politicians and policymakers the serious repercussions for community-led local development if the proposed local government reforms go ahead.  Further information about the campaign is available at:

Senator Tom Sheahan, Senator Mark Daly & Noel Spillane (CEO SKDP)






New Killarney office to provide a one stop shop for SKDP services

South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd’s services are being brought together in one office in Killarney for the first time following the opening of the Partnerships new premises in High Street. The new offices are located on the second floor of 37 High Street, which is across from the Library at the traffic lights on the Tralee road out of the town.

All of SKDP’s services will now be available through this office including the Jobs Club, the Local Employment Service (LES), LCDP, TUS and agricultural related services. The services from 37 High Street have commenced from Monday last.

SKDP CEO Noel Spillane said that the new office will significantly strengthen the Partnership’s presence in Killarney. “This will provide a one stop shop for people who wish to avail of the SKDP services in the town and will help to ensure that people can avail of all of the Partnerships services that may be of benefit to them under the one roof for the first time” Noel added.

The main activities operating out of the new office will be the Jobs Club and the Local Employment Service which both offer significant help to those seeking to return to work or to acquire new skills in a different sector. Jobs Club facilitator Emmett Spring welcomed the move which will enable him to be able to host Jobs Club events in the new offices in the future. “This move will also assist people in moving more easily between the range of services SKDP can offer” he added. The Jobs Club phone number for the service remains the same 064 6637833 and all are welcome to call in.

LES Manager Bridie Buckley said that they also welcome the opening of the new office on High Street as it will provide a focal point for their services in the town. LES mediator Sean Counihan will now take all appointments in the office and the LES service can be contacted on 064 6636966.

Other SKDP services will operate on a regular basis and for further information people can contact 064 6636572.


Rural Social Scheme (RSS) and TÚS

Community Work Placement Initiatives are now being managed from the newly opened SKDP office in Killarney, as well as our existing offices in Killorglin and Cahersiveen.  Should Community/Voluntary groups require assistance, we are available to meet with any new or existing groups who would like to learn more about  how their group/s might benefit from both these schemes. Our Killarney office number is 064-6636572.  Office hours are 9am to 5pm (Mon-Fri). South Kerry Development Ltd, 37 High Street, 2nd Floor, Killarney, Co. Kerry.