Dáil Éireann - Volume 589 - 05 October, 2004
Written Answers. - Community Development.
Dr. Twomey Dr. Twomey
186. Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in improving the alignment of structures of community and local development organisations across urban, rural and Gaeltacht areas. [22724/04]
Mr. Murphy Mr. Murphy
194. Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the changes he has put place in relation to the structure and operation of ADM, in view of the review of ADM which was carried out earlier in 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22705/04]
Mr. J. O’Keeffe Mr. J. O’Keeffe
198. Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress to date to ensure democratic legitimacy on local boards appointed to implement development programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22741/04]
Mr. Murphy Mr. Murphy
218. Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in the restructuring of ADM. [22723/04]
Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin
228. Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the nature and purpose of the review which is being conducted of the community development and support programmes under the auspices of his Department; when this review is likely to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22769/04]
Éamon Ó Cuív Éamon Ó Cuív
Éamon Ó Cuív: I propose to take Questions Nos. 186, 194, 198, 218 and 228 together.
I refer the Deputies to earlier questions on this matter, in particular to my reply to Question No. 151 and related questions on 4 February 2004,  Questions Nos. 100 and 102 on 9 March 2004 and Question No. 127 on 27 April 2004.
In implementing the Government decision detailed in those replies, local and community development groups were invited to make proposals for improved alignment of structures in their respective areas. City and county development boards, CDBs, were asked to co-ordinate this process. As indicated in the earlier replies, funding had been earmarked —€3.09 million — to support specific co-ordinated measures arising from this process.
Proposals have been received from all CDBs and have been assessed by an external consultant engaged by my Department. As a result of this process, I have approved proposals from Fingal CDB for funding. These proposals were very focused on improving current arrangements with regard to resources, staffing and geographic coverage. There were many other good ideas put forward by the other CDBs. However, they were asked to take a more focused look at their proposals and to resubmit these by 1 October. I intend to have these proposals assessed very quickly with early decisions on funding support. I hope to be able to build on the ideas put forward as part of this process with a view to concluding the review of local and community development structures in the first half of 2005.
As well as co-ordinating this process, the role of CDBs in the endorsing of plans prepared by local and community development groups continues. With their close links to the local authority structure, the CDBs can strengthen the democratic accountability of the service delivery agencies and bodies, as well as promoting an integrated approach to service provision at local and community level.
As I indicated last April, the first step in the process of restructuring ADM was the nomination of new board members by Government. In the interim the Government nominees have been appointed to the board. My Department will work closely with ADM to develop the changes to the memorandum and articles of association of ADM necessary for the implementation of the Government decision with regard to restructuring the company.
In addition, I have made some changes to the community development programme. This programme supports locally-based groups involved in anti-poverty and social inclusion initiatives in their communities so that they can have a role in decisions which affect them, contribute to a process of change in their areas and improve their quality of life. To this end, financial assistance is provided to projects towards the staffing and equipping of local resource centres which provide a focal point for community development activities in the area and to other specialised projects and initiatives.
A total of €20,604,000 has been allocated to the programme for 2004. There are 190 projects included in the programme, of which 175 are in  receipt of funding, including five projects in offshore islands. A further 15 pre-development projects have been approved, in principle, for inclusion in the community development programme. A total of €500,000 has been set aside to fund these projects later this year. Arising from the review of local and community development structures, the Government has decided that public bodies and Departments should look to existing structures for delivery of new local or community development initiatives. In this regard, the Government also decided that any further community development projects established will be on the basis of maximising recourse to existing structures. Of the 15 pre-development projects included in the programme, 14 have submitted work plans. My Department is meeting with those groups to determine how their projects can be brought on stream in 2004, in a way which maximises recourse to existing structures.
In line with the Government decision arising from the review of local and community development structures, the process of significantly reducing the funding available for intermediaries such as regional support agencies has continued. This serves to maximise the resources available to directly benefit communities. The number of such agencies with which my Department has a contract under the programme has been reduced from 13 to six. The six successful tenders commenced their contracts from 1 July 2004.
Dáil Éireann 589 Written Answers. Community Development.