Hundreds of people in South Kerry have this week come out in support of South Kerry Development Partnership at the first in a series of public meetings held in the region calling for the retention of the Partnerships in their current format. Furthermore, plans are underway by the community representatives to go out to Brussels in the coming weeks to meet key EU officials to voice their total opposition to Minister Phil Hogan’s Alignment Proposals.
Organised by the Community Directors of the partnership, nearly 400 people came out over two meetings in Cahersiveen and Kenmare to voice their strong support for the work the partnerships are doing and to call for their retention. There was a strong mood of anger at the meetings that the voice of the people in Rural Ireland was not being listened to and many called on Minister Hogan to keep his hands off the partnerships which have a proven track record of delivery.
SKDP Chairperson and Community Director Sheila Casey said they are delighted with the turnout from the public in relation to their support for the partnerships. “The people of South Kerry, and indeed many other areas, have seen the benefits of having the bottom up, community based partnerships involved in delivering a wide range of programmes in Rural Ireland”. “People can access the services locally and can be sure that they are getting the best possible service from their partnerships” Sheila said. They are now asking why change something that is working and the only answer they can come up with is that Minister Hogan is attempting to bring control of future EU funding through LEADER and other programmes into the Councils and away from the communities that really need it” she added. “They clearly see this as a retrograde step which will have significant negative impacts on them and they will not stand for it” Sheila pointed out.
All of those who attended these two meetings have signed a national petition supporting the retention of the partnerships and it is expected that several thousand signatures could be collected nationwide under this petition.
Further public meetings organised by the Community Directors of SKDP will be held in The Travel Inn, Fossa, Killarney on Tuesday night next and in St. Michael’s Church Hall, Killorglin on Wednesday. “Minister Hogan needs to hear loud and clear that the people of Rural Ireland will not lie down and take the consequences of his alignment proposals” Sheila said. It is time he listened to the message coming from the people and not continue with this crazy attempt to fix something that is not broken” she concluded.