WLR jobs reprieve as funding arrives

Shay Riordan, West Limerick Resources
THERE has been an eleventh-hour reprieve for West Limerick Resources and its 40 full and part-time staff members. With just days to go before funds and contracts run out on December 31, the company was told last Wednesday that “interim funding” was available.

THERE has been an eleventh-hour reprieve for West Limerick Resources and its 40 full and part-time staff members. With just days to go before funds and contracts run out on December 31, the company was told last Wednesday that “interim funding” was available.

This now means that programmes and jobs are secure, at least until the end of March.

“We are very thankful for that,” Shay Riordan, the manager at the partnership company told the Limerick Leader this Monday.

However, uncertainty continues to dog the future for WLR and other similar partnership groups.

The company has relied for most of its funding on two core programmes, the Local and Community Development Programme and the Rural Development Programme or Leader, Mr Riordan explained.

“We are funded up until the end of March under the Local and Community Development programme,” he added.

This programme is aimed at tackling disadvantage and includes projects such as breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, and working with lone parents and Travellers. “Last Friday, we submitted a tender for funding for the new programme which is now known as the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme or SICAP,” Mr Riordan said. If the tender succeeds, it will run until the end of 2017.

However, it is the Rural Development Programme (often known as the Leader programme) where the greatest change is expected as a result of local government reform under the Putting People First policy. Local authorities must now set up Local Community Development Com-mittees (LCDCs) and devise a five-year community development plan. “We don’t know if it is this committee or ourselves who can apply for the Leader funding for this programme,” Mr Riordan said.

Last May, West Limerick Resources hosted one of the largest public meetings to take place in the area for many years where Shay Riordan said it would be difficult for the company to survive and continue providing the same range of services if it were to lost control over the two core funding programmes.