Labour MEP Phil Prendergast and Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly this week met Cork local development companies who travelled to Brussels to engage with European policy makers in relation to proposals for reforms of the local development sector. IRD Duhallow, Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership, South East Cork Area Development (SECAD) and West Cork Development Partnership (WCDP) attended a briefing, hosted by the Irish Local Development Network, in the European Parliament on Tuesday 8th of Janaury. Speaking after the meeting Ms. Prendergast said “Having visited many of these projects and having seen the great work being done by these two organisations on the ground, I fully support the efforts being made by IRD Duhallow, Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership, SECAD and WCDP to ensure that the local development sector remains viable and vibrant post 2013. “My first priority is that the system going forward continues to ensure that local communities are able to take the lead in developing their own localities. “Ireland is held up as a model for best practice in Europe in terms of the administration of LEADER funding and in terms of community led local development. I would be keen that any new arrangement would preserve our strong reputation at a European level in this area. Sean Kelly MEP stated that “LEADER is part and parcel of local community activism and development in rural Ireland. Like the GAA, it is a strong network of local people helping their communities to develop and prosper. “I strongly support the work of Local Development companies and it is my hope that provision can be made to support and promote this work further in the context of the ongoing reforms to local development in Ireland,” he concluded.