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About Us
South Kerry Development Partnership CLG is a community led local development company.  It was founded in 1991, and was one of the first area based partnership companies to be established by the Government under the auspices of the then programme for Economic & Social progress (PESP).  The establishment of local development companies like South Kerry Development Partnership CLG, followed a realisation by government that what was needed to tackle the economic and social problems of rural areas was a localised community based response.  The local community, working in partnership with statutory agencies, the social partners and local government, could take responsibility for addressing the economic and social problems within their communities.  Strategies and related actions could be developed locally, with local ownership and in response to local needs This ‘bottom up’ approach to Rural Development is a core ethos of South Kerry Development Partnership CLG and it provides the organisation with a methodology of working which informs the design, development and implementation of its rural development initiatives.
 South Kerry Development Partnership CLG is an experienced rural development organisation and has successfully implemented numerous state & EU funded rural development programmes since its foundation in 1991.  It combines an economic development role, creating sustainable jobs and attracting investment with community, cultural and social development activities.   South Kerry Development Partnership CLG works with a very broad range of stakeholders, including individuals, communities, businesses, networks, cooperatives, government agencies and departments.  It is a non-governmental organisation and is legally established as a Company limited by guarantee with registered charitable status with the Irish Revenue Commissioners.   The operation of South Kerry Development Partnership CLG is overseen by a voluntary board of directors consisting of 22 members representing four key pillars, The Community & Voluntary Sector, The Social Partners, Statutory Agencies and Local Government.  The community & voluntary sectors is the largest pillar on the board.  Full details on the partnership board are detailed below.

Our Mission Statement
South Kerry Development Partnership CLG (SKDP) works to promote and assist the development of sustainable, vibrant communities in South Kerry, and to improve the quality of life of people living there through the provision of social and economic opportunities. SKDP does this by targeting financial resources, creating strategic alliances, facilitating networking and fostering cooperation, and will incorporate ongoing evaluation of its work to ensure focused delivery of its objectives. SKDP is a local development company which works in partnership with state agencies, the social partners, local elected members and community and voluntary representatives.

Core Values
The Core Values which underpin all of the work of the South Kerry Development Partnership CLG are as follows: Using a partnership approach – fostering involvement of stakeholder agencies. Equality – a fair, respectful and inclusive approach and encouragement of others to do the same Bottom up approach – recognition and building on existing assets and ensuring involvement Addressing disadvantages of any kind Working on all levels of the community to achieve objectives To be innovative Work is transformational, with strategies for continuation at outset. Influencing policy – by taking opportunities as arising and involvement of local, regional and national agencies.
Key Areas of Activity
South Kerry Development Partnership CLG corporate plan 2008-2013 has divided it’s activities under three strategic pillars, each with an overall core objective, strategies to achieve the objectives and a series of actions to realise each of the strategies. The three strategic pillars are:

  • Enterprise & Employment
  • Community Development
  • Education & Training

More information on each of these key areas of activity are set out in the relevant section of the website.

Sub Structures
South Kerry Development Partnership CLG is structured in accordance with its key areas of activities and it’s sub-structure has been designed to both prioritise key areas of activity and ensure maximum involvement of key stakeholders in its working groups. The structure of South Kerry Development Programme Ltd is set out below:

South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd Board and Sub Structure

Area of Operations

South Kerry Development Partnership CLG covers an extensive area of almost 2,500km2. This represents over half the surface area of County Kerry. The area, which covers 65 EDs (Electoral Divisions), has a population of just over 58,407 (2022 Census of Population). Its main urban centre is Killarney. Other significant urban centres include Kenmare, Killorglin and Cahersiveen.

It is a predominantly rural area. The main industries are agriculture and tourism. South Kerry Development Partnership CLG’S geographic area of operations covers an area of outstanding natural beauty, with a varied landscape consisting of mountains, coastline, lakes, national park, diverse flora & fauna and a world heritage site.

The geographic area of operations covered by South Kerry Development Partnership CLG is shown below

Map of Geographic Area
Chairperson and CEO of SKDP CLG

• Anthony Donnelly

• Noel Spillane

SKDP Board Members

Community & Voluntary Sector

  • Michael Moriarty – Greater Killarney Area Community Forum
  • Derek O’Leary – Greater Killarney Area Community Forum
  • Sean Roche – Mid Kerry & Sliabh Mish Community Forum
  • Catherine Evans – Mid Kerry & Sliabh Mish Community Forum
  • Michael J O’Connor – Iveragh Community Forum
  • Tony Donnelly – Iveragh Community Forum
  • Patricia Holbein – Greater Kenmare Area Community Forum
  • Tadgh O’Donoghue – Greater Kenmare Area Community Forum

National Social Partners Sector

  • Shaun McCarthy – Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association / Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society (ICMSA/ICOS)
  • Noelle Casey – Irish Farmers Association (IFA)
  • Sheila Dickson – Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
  • Vacancy – Irish Business & Employers Confederation (IBEC)

Statutory Sector

  • Majella Moloney – Teagasc
  • Kevin Fay – Kerry Education & Training Board (KETB)
  • Vacancy – Udaras Na Gaeltachta

Environmental Sector

  • Vacancy – Irish Environment Network

Local Government Sector

  • Councillor John O’Donoghue – Kerry Co. Council – Elected Members
  • Councillor Fionnán Fitzgerald – Kerry Co. Council – Elected Members
  • Councillor Dan McCarthy – Kerry Co. Council – Elected Members
  • Councillor Marie Moloney – Kerry Co. Council – Elected Members
  • Paul Neary – Kerry County Council – Executive

Company Secretary

  • Noel Spillane


Complaints Policy

South Kerry Development Partnership views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation that has made the complaint. Our main priority is to deal with the complaint promptly and to the client’s satisfaction as far as possible.

Please clink on the link below to access our Complains Policy.

SKDP Complaints Policy


Funding Programmes
Rural Social Scheme
The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is aimed at low-income farmers and fishermen/women. To qualify for RSS, the applicant must be getting a social welfare payment. In return, people participating in RSS provide services that benefit rural communities. Participants work 19.5 hours per week. These hours are based on a farmer/fisher-friendly schedule. This is to ensure participation does not affect participants farming/fishing activities. Participants are offered a contract from their start date up to the following 31 March. They may be considered for a further term following the initial contract, if they continue to meet all the criteria for RSS. There is no time limit on RSS. If low- income farmers/fisherpersons are eligible for RSS but don’t wish to participate, their dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may take the available place. However, this is only if neither of them are participating in any other similar scheme, (for example, the Community Employment Scheme.) The Rural Social Scheme operates independently of the Community Employment Scheme (CE). The types of work carried out by RSS participants includes the following • Maintaining and enhancing various walking routes (that is, waymarked ways, agreed walks) and bog roads • Energy conservation work for older people and those at risk of poverty • Village and countryside enhancement projects • Social care and care of older people • Community care for pre-school and after-school groups • Environmental maintenance work – maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres • Community administration or clerical work • Any other appropriate community-based project SKDP delivers the Rural Social Scheme in South Kerry under contract to the Dept. of Social Protection. Each year the RSS & Tus Schemes support approx. 200 community & voluntary projects across South Kerry.
Tús Programme
The Tús initiative is a community work placement scheme providing short-term working opportunities for unemployed people. The work opportunities are to benefit the community and are provided by community and voluntary organisations in both urban and rural areas. The Tús initiative is managed by local development companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta for the Department of Social Protection (DSP), which has overall responsibility for the scheme. Unemployed people who are eligible to participate in the scheme are selected and contacted by the DSP and referred to the local development company. All the work carried out by participants in the Tús scheme will be community-based. The types of projects eligible for the scheme can include: • Environmental services (for example, conservation and maintenance of national walkways) • Caring services (for example, childcare, care of older people) • General community services (for example, newsletters or information provision for communities) • Heritage and cultural services (for example, local heritage projects) • Educational services (for example, community playgroups) Participants work 19.5 hours a week and the placement lasts 12 months. SKDP manages the Tús programme in South Kerry under contract to the Dept. of Social Protection.
Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP)
The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2018 – 2023 provides funding to tackle poverty and social exclusion through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies. Administered nationally by Pobal, the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is co-funded by the Irish Government, through the Department of Rural and Community Development, and the European Social Fund Plus under the Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training (EIST) Programme 2021 -2027. SICAP addresses high and persistent levels of deprivation through targeted and innovative, locally-led approaches. It supports disadvantaged communities and individuals including unemployed people, people living in deprived areas, people with disabilities, single parent families, people on a low income, members of the Traveller and Roma community and other disadvantaged groups. The programme is managed at a local level by 33 Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) across the country, with support from local authorities, and actions are delivered by Local Development Companies (LDCs) such as SKDP. LDCs work with marginalised communities and service providers using a community development approach to improve people’s lives. For example, helping people to find work or to upskill, providing CV training or a personal development course, helping them onto a work placement programme such as CE or Tύs. SKDP implement the SICAP programme in South Kerry under contract to the Kerry Local Community Development Committee (LCDC – a Subcommittee of Kerry County Council). Each year SKDP supports over 30 community groups & social enterprises and over 400 individuals with a range of wellbeing, employment, self-employment, education & training supports. The current five-year SICAP programme runs from 2024 to 2028.
LEADER Programme
LEADER is a rural development programme co-funded by the EU which operates a locally-led, bottom-up, approach to meeting the needs of rural communities and businesses. The programme supports private enterprises and community groups in rural areas. The programme is based on a community-led approach to rural development and plays an important role in supporting communities and enterprises in progressing job creation, social inclusion and environmental projects at local level. Since its launch in 1991, LEADER has provided rural communities across the European Union with the resources to enable local partners to actively engage and direct the local development of their area, through community-led local development. The LEADER Programme aims to support the local development of Ireland’s rural areas which, for the purposes of the programme, are defined as all parts of Ireland with the exception of the areas within the boundaries of the five main cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway. The programme is administered at a local level by 29 local action groups (LAGs) in 28 sub-regional areas across the country. Kerry is one of these 28 sub-regional areas. LAGS contain local representatives from the community, public and private sector. LAGs are responsible for local projects in accordance with the Local Development Strategies they develop themselves. In Kerry, the LAG is the Kerry LCDC. SKDP acts as an ‘implementing partner’ for the Kerry LAG for the LEADER 2023 – 2027 programme, essentially operationalising the programme in South Kerry and undertaking such tasks as promoting the programme, supporting communities & businesses to develop funding proposals, inviting and processing funding applications, evaluating funding applications and making funding recommendations to the Kerry LAG, processing grant claims etc. SKDP allocated just over €4.9 million to 270 projects in South Kerry under the LEADER 2014 – 2022 Programme across the economic, community & environmental spectrum. The 2023 – 2027 LEADER Programme has three thematic areas of focus and these are Theme 1 – Economic Development & Job Creation Theme 2 – Rural Infrastructure & Social Inclusion Theme 3 – Sustainable Development of the Rural Environment and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.
The South Kerry Skillnet Network is an enterprise led training network that provides subsidised training to member companies. The network is dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning in South Kerry. It’s mission is to facilitate increased participation in enterprise training and workforce learning within South Kerry’s small & medium enterprises. The Network is funded by Skillnet Ireland (a business support agency of the Irish Government) and members contributions. Typically, businesses that avail of Skillnet support can avail of discounts of up to 35% on the cost of training. The South Kerry Skillnet training network supports about circa 150 businesses each year with their training requirements and will on average provide over 3,000 training days to about 500 individuals. The South Kery Skillnet Network was established by SKDP in 2006 and is a multi-sectoral network (i.e., containing businesses from different sectors, such as Financial services, IT, Tourism & Hospitality, Agriculture etc). A wide variety of training courses are provided across the following categories – Business & Management Development Skills, Technical Skills, IT Skills, Tourism & Hospitality, Healthcare & Agriculture. SKDP operate the South Kerry Skillnet under contract from Skillnet Ireland.
Rural Recreational Officer & The Walks Scheme
The Walks scheme was launched in 2008 and is aimed at private landholders. It involves the development, enhancement and maintenance of developed trails which are approved by Sport Ireland Outdoors and listed on the National Trails Register. The scheme is currently administered at a local level by 20 Local Development Companies (LDCS) on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development. The Department provides a funding contribution for Rural Recreation Officers (RROs) in each of these LDCs, with a contribution also being provided from Fáilte Ireland. The RRO assists with the delivery of the Scheme and supports other rural recreation initiatives at a local level. The scheme is aimed at private landholders who, upon acceptance onto the scheme by the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD), and their formal acceptance of the terms of the Scheme, become “scheme participants”, and from this point work with their local LDC and RRO. The scheme participant is the private landholder who has exclusive possession and use of the land in question in return for a participant payment upon acceptance of the terms of the scheme on an approved trail. Scheme participants agree to enter into an agreement to deliver the scheme for a period of 5 years, and will receive a payment (twice a year) for their work on the development, enhancement and maintenance work as set out in their agreed “Work Plan”. The LDC will agree a draft work plan with the participants based on Sport Ireland Outdoors criteria for a developed trail and will determine the materials required along with the hours deemed necessary for the work to be carried out. SKDP administers the Walks Scheme in South Kerry under contract to the Dept. of Rural & Community Development. SKDP currently has in excess of 300 landowners on the Walks Scheme, with the majority of these landowners on the Kerry Way walking trail. Payments to landowners on the scheme total almost €400,000 per annum. SKDP also employ a rural recreation officer under a service level agreement with the Dept. of Rural & Community Development.
Kerry Social Farming
The Kerry Social Farming Project offers an opportunity for people with disabilities to pursue some of their personal life choices by engaging with local farm families and the farming community. The model of Kerry Social Farming is a voluntary model, whereby host farmers offer their time on a voluntary basis, typically one day a week (4 – 6 hours), supporting participants engage in activities on and around the farm. At the heart of Kerry Social Farming is a social inclusion project enabling real working relationships and friendships to develop. Financial support is provided to cover the costs of any adjustments that have to be made to the farm (for health & safety and to provide activities for participants). These costs along with any additional insurance costs are fully covered so no farmer is ‘out of pocket’. Personnel supports are also provided to host farmer and farm families by the Kerry Social Farming facilitators, the Kerry Social Farming Working Group along with service provider staff who provide ongoing support on the farm. The Kerry Social Farming project is steered by a working group, who membership comprises representatives of project partners. SKDP is the lead partner and provides the legal, financial and administrative governance of Kerry Social Farming. The project is supported with funding from the SICAP programme and also funding from the Dept. of Agriculture Food & the Marine. SKDP employ two social farming facilitators, one based in South Kerry, the other based in North Kerry to support the host farmers and the participants. The project was established by SKDP in 2013 and continues to expand with over 30 farms now engaging with the project across the county. Kerry Social Farming host farmers provide social farming opportunities to over 60 participants on a weekly basis. The vision of Kerry Social Farming is to promote and operate social farming in Kerry as a viable option for achieving improved quality of life, greater inclusion and community networking for people with disabilities. The mission of Kerry Social Farming is through working collectively in a shared service with the social care service providers, people with disabilities, local communities, local development companies, national & local government, the business community, farm organisations & farm families to develop and provide social farming opportunities in Kerry. Kerry Social Farming project partners include local development Companies (SKDP & NEWKD), the Local Authority, disability Service providers & disability organisations, Kerry Education & Training Board, HSE, Local link Kerry, host farmers, KSF participants and their families.
Kerry Local Area Employment Service
The Kerry Local Area Employment Service provides one-to-one guidance and support to unemployed individuals, throughout County Kerry. The jobseekers in the service are primarily those who are long-term unemployed and farthest from the labour market. Unemployed individuals are referred to the service directly from Dept. of Social Protection. The services the Kerry Local Area Employment services provide to job seekers include • Regular one-to-one meetings with a dedicated Employment Guidance Officer in a private comfortable setting. • A Personal Progression Plan (PPP), customised for each client, including individual goals and actions agreed. • CV and cover letter preparation and job-searching skills. • Access to in-house and external training courses, self-employment options, interview skills and work experience options. • Direct access to external specialised local services for extra support addressing, for example, numeracy and literacy, mental health, childcare, finance. • In-employment support and guidance for 17 weeks when starting a new job. • Kerry Local Area Employment services are available to clients in all SKDP & NEWKD offices on a full-time basis, exclusive of public holidays, during the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. The services Kerry Local Area Employment Service provide to employers include: • Help with recruitment needs, matching suitable candidates to local jobs • Provision of information on employer incentives e.g., Jobs Plus • Advertise jobs for free on the South Kery Local Area Employment Service Job-sheet The service is delivered under contract from the Dept. of Social Protection and NEWKD are the lead partner for county Kerry and have signed the contract with the Dept. SKDP are sub-contacted by NEWKD to deliver the service in the South Kerry area.
Kerry Biosphere Officer
Killarney National Park (KNP) was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1982. KNP encompasses a variety of mountains, lakes, woodlands, waterfalls and antiquities that are world famous. The park is of particularly high ecological value because of the quality, diversity and extensiveness of many of its habitats and the wide variety of species, some of which are rare. The Reserve was extended and renamed as the UNESCO Kerry Biosphere Reserve in 2017. The extension primarily incorporated the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Lough Leane catchment, within buffer and transition areas. The extended areas are generally not in State ownership but are hydrologically linked or have habitat connectivity with the core area of the Biosphere (Killarney National Park). Therefore, sustainable land uses as well as community and scientific understanding in these areas are important in supporting the integrity of the Biosphere. There are many legislative and policy instruments in place to safeguard key ecological interests (NPWS Natura 2000 Conservation Objective documents are informative in this regard), while Kerry County Council land use plans seek to ensure sustainable land use and development in these areas. In addition, continued stakeholder collaboration is required to ensure that the region is managed effectively but also meets the requirements of the local communities and wider interest groups. The State has proactively managed KNP UNESCO Biosphere Reserve as a National Park, pursuing the primary objective of conservation of biodiversity and supporting its use for tourism, recreation, amenity and education. To that end, it has invested in conservation and other projects, and in staff. A major intent of the new UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is to build on and strengthen conservation of biodiversity in line with the goals of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and to pursue scientific endeavour in that regard. The Biosphere Management Council, comprising of Kerry County Council and NPWS, have pledged resources for a number of Kerry UNESCO Biosphere Reserve initiatives, one of which includes: • A Kerry Biosphere Reserve Officer, responsible for stakeholder engagement, biosphere promotion and implementing actions as determined by the Management Council Following a request from Kerry County Council and NPWS to South Kerry Development Partnership CLG (SKDP), the board of South Kerry Development Partnership agreed to employ the Kerry Biosphere Officer in 2020. The overall objective of the role is to work with a variety of stakeholders, including Kerry County Council, National Parks & Wildlife Service, farmers, landowners and the MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountain Access Forum to promote and support the implementation of the goals & objectives of the Kerry UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.




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