Representatives of community groups from around Kerry will gather in Tralee on Monday next (April 14th) to voice their anger to Councillors over proposals around Alignment. Kerry’s councillors are due to vote on motions around the formation of the new LCDC’s by Kerry County Council – the bodies that it is proposed will run the new LEADER and Local Community Development Programmes. This in effect would lead to the closure of the current Partnerships and a major reduction in access to essential services for people in rural areas of the county.
The proposal to stage a mass protest at the council meeting arose from groups who have been attending public meetings in both South and North Kerry over the last two weeks to highlight their opposition to these proposals. The South Kerry meetings have been organised by the Community Directors of SKDP who fear that these proposals, if allowed to go ahead, will take the voice and decision making power of the rural communities and transfer it into the hands of Kerry County Council.
SKDP Chairperson and Killarney Community Director Sheila Casey said that the people have voiced their opposition to these proposals loud and clear and in large numbers at the meetings in South Kerry. “It is coming up to election time and councillors would be well minded to listen to the will of the people and oppose this motion when it comes up for a vote at next Monday’s meeting” Sheila said. “The system that is in place to run both the LEADER and Community Development Programmes is working extremely well and there is no need at all to change it” according to Sheila. “This is a proven, bottom up approach for the delivery of vital programmes in rural areas and the people want it to remain so, not have their power taken away from them” she said. It is ironic that Minister Hogan has called his proposals “Putting People First” – this is clearly not putting people first and the people are demanding that both the Councillors and the Minister to listen to their views and abandon these plans” Sheila concluded.
The Community Leaders behind next Monday’s protest have asked all those wishing to attend to be outside the County Buildings in Rathas, Tralee at 9am next Monday morning so as to ensure the Councillors attending are fully aware and in no doubt of the opposition to these proposals before they vote on the motion. The protest will run until 10.30am