4 March 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Fine Gael Cork South West TD, Noel Harrington, has welcomed the news that funding for the Development Offices on non-Gaeltacht islands has been secured for the future.
“The Minister for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh, has informed me that funding for the non-Gaeltacht islands is secure for the future. This is great news for the communities of Bere, Sherkin, Heir, Whiddy, Long and Dursey.
“I commend Minister McHugh for his commitment on this matter. Last year he came with me to visit both Sherkin and Bere islands and gained an appreciation of the challenges faced by island communities and the particular community development needs they have.
“The Minister conducted important negotiations with Ministers Alan Kelly and Ann Phelan at the Department of Environment and Local Government and we were all relieved when an interim solution was found to protect funding for 2015.
“Now the long term future is bright with a new approach which will see these islands, and relevant supports, becoming a key function of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The Local and Community Development Programme funding for these community groups will continue until the end of March 2015, pending the roll out of a revised new system which will be led by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Minister Kelly has confirmed that his Department is contributing significant funding to the new scheme.
“This is just an example of the Government’s commitment to Rural Ireland including the protection of small schools and the Regional Enterprise strategy which seeks to spread the economic recovery to all parts of the country.
“I will continue to work with Minister McHugh on the details of the new scheme for the non-Gaeltacht islands and ensure that the voices of the island communities are heard in the process.”