16 March 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Cork County Council has launched West Cork Islands Community Fund Scheme 2019. Initiated by the Elected Members of Cork County Council when considering the 2019 budget, it was agreed to set aside a fund of €50,000 ring fenced to support Island community development through small scale capital and amenity projects on the Islands.
The scheme was officially launched at the March Monthly Meeting of the Municipal District of West Cork.
There are seven inhabited islands off the West Coast of Cork including Oileán Chléire, Bere, Sherkin, Whiddy, Dursey, Long and Heir which recorded a total population of 495 in the 2016 Census.
The aim of the fund is to improve the range and quality of community based facilities and services on the Islands.
In welcoming the Islands Community Grant initiative, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy stated “Small measures can have disproportionately large effects on small communities in terms of the social-economic status of islands. The establishment of one business or service on an island can sustain a number of families on the island.”
Mayor Murphy went on to say, “Both the Cork County Development Plan and the West Cork Municipal Local Area Plan recognise the West Cork Islands require supporting in their economic, cultural and social development and that their unique cultural and linguistic heritage will be preserved and enhanced. Both plans aim to support viable social-economic island communities in order that the permanent population will be sustained and increased.”
Mayor Murphy added “The inhabited islands off the West Cork Coast are a unique reservoir of arts, culture, identity and heritage. They are home to living communities and Cork County Council, through this and other initiatives, will continue to support the islands to ensure that their communities remain viable and vibrant.”
The Islands Community Fund Scheme will be administered by the Municipal District of West Cork who will shortly be inviting funding applications for projects from Island Communities. The scheme will support projects up to a cost of €25,000 but will also support smaller scale projects where there is a proven benefit to Island Communities.