Agency’s job success ‘under serious threat’

A report on the work of South and East Cork Area Development shows that it created 369 jobs, funded more than 142 start-ups and enterprises, and helped a further 601 people gain employment in the region in the last three years.

The Impact report also showed that more than 410 unemployed people had been placed in work in community and voluntary organisations in the period. It found 351 community groups have been supported by SECAD, with 100 active age groups and 2,200 young people supported directly through its funds.

However, at the report’s launch, Ryan Howard, SECAD chief executive, warned that the successes his organisation had been achieving in recent years is now under threat.

“Due to the government alignment strategy, the investment in this region is under serious threat.

Mr Howard added: “SECAD and other local development companies throughout Ireland have been hugely successful in accessing funding from Europe.

“Not only funding such as Rural Development Fund but additional sources of grant aid in the areas of networks, mobility, and community. This is because we have proven our model highly successful in the delivery of funds on the ground, and because we have attained status in the EU which allows us to negotiate additional funding and access other sources of funding.”

Mr Howard said in Europe, Irish local development companies are seen as a model for other countries.

“Yet the Irish Government is moving towards alignment, which will see this funding channelled through committees at local authority level,” he said.

“These structures have no status within the EU — they are unproven and they will not have the recognised and proven status of the local development companies. The region will most certainly lose out on funding as a direct result of this move.”

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