Cathaoirleach backs Pobail petition

Cathaoirleach backs Pobail petition
Pobail le Chéile in Falcarragh are engaged in a campaign to protect the company in the face of a potential loss of funding in early 2015.

Pobail le Chéile in Falcarragh are engaged in a campaign to protect the company in the face of a potential loss of funding in early 2015.

The introduction of the new Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is threatening future funding for the active community project.

The new funding programme will be channeled through Donegal County Council and may go directly to Donegal Local Development Company rather than to Pobail le Chéile and her sister company, Rosses CDP in Dungloe. This is part of a reorganisation of local funding that is taking place nationwide.

Local people gathered more than 1,500 signatures on a community petition that called on the local authority and Údarás na Gaeltachta to ensure that the new social inclusion funding reaches disadvantaged people and groups on the ground, especially in the Gaeltacht.

The petition was presented to independent Cllr. John Campbell, cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, at the Siopa Pobail community shop managed by Pobail le Chéile. The cathaoirleach said he was impressed by the dedication and commitment of the project volunteer team -- more than 60 local people collected the signatures.

The cathaoirleach has dedicated his year in office to the cause of social inclusion, and said he could think of no more appropriate way to express that resolve that by supporting the community petition.

The community development company has been running for more than 12 years, funded through a number of state channels with a special role in targeting poverty, exclusion and isolation. The new funding programme could see resources move out of Gaeltacht areas and the loss of local leadership and decision-making.

The Pobail le Chéile management committee have argued their case for continued funding in 2015 in meetings with Joe McHugh, Fine Gael TD and minister of state for the Gaeltacht, and with a number of councillors, and in writing to Minister Alan Kelly, who has responsibility for the new SICAP programme.

Pobal le Chéile are based in Cloughaneely, including Falcarragh, Gortahork, surrounding townlands and islands, an area with a population of over 5,000. They deliver some services and programmes across north-west Donegal.