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Community development group in appeal to councillors

ENNIS Community Development Project (CDP) is appealing to all local councillors and TDs to examine the impact on the most marginal and disenfranchised communities of the possible reduction of the number of CDPs nationally.
Chairman of Ennis CDP, Dermot Hayes, has described Government plans as “another blow to the communities who need to participate and engage at decision-making”.
“The implications of closures are stark. Disadvantaged communities will be further undermined and there will be consequences for employment, training, education, and anti-social behaviour,” Mr Hayes claimed.
He claimed Ennis CDP is cost effective. “The Government has announced it will reduce the number of CDPs nationally and is in the process of scrapping the national Community Development Plan. Community development will be subsumed into local development. We believe that there is every possibility that this will mean the loss of valuable skills and experience built up over the last 20 years of the programme. This programme was designed by Government to directly target disadvantage and inequality at grass roots level,” he continued.
Mr Hayes added that protests would be organised should the planned closures take place. The CDPs in Clare include the Clare Womens Network, which works to address women’s issues in the county, East Clare Community Support Ltd which supports the communities of rural East Clare specifically people with disabilities, carers, older people and LGBT community and the Ennis Community Development Project (CDP), which works with members of the Travelling community and immigrants in the Ennis environs.
Ennis CDP was recently given just over two weeks to sign a new contract with the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in order to receive funding after April 2010.
The department has provisionally allocated more than €130,000 to Ennis CDP for the next year but from January 1, Ennis CDP will be funded under the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP).
A letter sent by the department dated December 10 states that the indicative funding allocation for 2010 under the new programme (LCDP) is €133,865. However “this level of funding is conditional” on someone from the board signing a form agreeing to adhere to new conditions. Any delay in the return of the completed new agreement “will result in a delay in funding,” according to the letter.
Dermot Hayes said the department was offering the CDP ‘Hobson’s Choice’.
“In order to move on to this new body, who we know nothing much about, we received a letter putting a gun to our heads. If we sign it, then we are given funds to continue and by April, we should be moving our staff and plans over to the new body. If we, as Ennis CDP Company Limited, don’t agree then we lose the funds,” Mr Hayes concluded.
Ennis CDP employs eight staff, full and part time and has a board consisting of 11 volunteers.

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