PLANS to administer thousands of euro in funding for city youth projects locally have been scrapped.
In a move which has been criticised by councillors, funds earmarked for youth projects in Limerick will now be decided by the City of Dublin Youth Service Board.
There had been plans to have the City VEC administer the funds locally, and a series of meetings had taken in preparation for this.
But at the start of this year, the Department of Community and Youth Affairs pulled the plug on this plan, citing the need for “greater efficiency and standardisation”.
It is now feared that many deserving projects may now miss out on funding, because Dublin officials may not be fully aware of work done on the ground in Limerick.
Plans were in place to allow local decisions to be made on grants for city projects run by Catholic Youth Care, Foroige, Involve and Youth Work Ireland.
Chief executive of the City VEC Paul Patton says this is going to have “a serious impact on local democracy, local management and our local affairs”.
There are also fears that other Special Projects for Youth, and Young Persons Disabilities Funds, which are administered here, could be lost to the capital, after the circular letter stated: “Consideration will be given to further streamlining of the financial management arrangements in 2014, and the department will hold consultations with the grant administering bodies concerned over the course of 2013.”
The department said the transfer has taken place, in a bid “to achieve greater efficiency and standardisation”.
But Mr Patton says the move has taken away “a lot of local autonomy, as well as local employment, local administration and local oversight.”
He said “no negotiation and no consultation” had taken place over this.
Former chairman of the City VEC, Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon added: “There has been no consultation locally, only a dictat from the Department of Education. There is serious concern about the local grant decisions which might be made this year.”
“Again, this is a case of everything being centralised to Dublin.”
On a broader level, Cllr O’Hanlon says he has concerns over the centralisation of functions in Dublin - saying local schools now have poor quality toilet paper.
“The Department of Education have introduced a centralised purchasing system. Up to now, VECs let schools purchase materials locally, and the local shops would benefit. But the national body do not seem to take quality control into consideration. The toilet roll now is bought at a cheaper cost, and they are of totally inferior quality. You may get them for half the price, but students will use twice the number of toilet rolls,” Cllr O’Hanlon told the Limerick Leader.
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