Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has said that the decision to almost halved community development funding in the last decade is bonkers. In a series of parliamentary questions it was revealed that total funding for community development in the State has fallen from a high of €76,715,010 in 2008 to €38,027,599 in 2018.

Teachta Seán Crowe said: “Community development funding has been in a steep downward decline for the past decade and this is having an adverse impact on communities’ right across the State.
“Many of these programmes are instrumental in reducing poverty and improving the opportunities of many of those who are marginalised in Irish society. Minister Ring has acknowledged the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is “a key intervention for disadvantaged communities”, yet inexplicably, funding continues to decline at an alarming rate.

“The aim of SICAP is to try and reduce poverty, and promote social inclusion and equality through local, regional, and national engagement and collaboration. Its vision is supposedly to improve the life chances and opportunities of those who are marginalised, living in poverty, or unemployed. “It is absolutely bonkers that the Government continues to slash these vital community supports. “Leader funding has also seen its funding reduced by €10 million over the last year.  Such funding is pivotal in providing many rural communities with the resources they need to develop and sustain their areas.

“Clearly there has been a turnaround in the economy but growth is uneven and increasingly many communities feel left behind. “Investment in community development is vital if we are to develop a more inclusive and fairer society. “The continued slashing of community development projects needs to stop and the supports that many communities depend on reinstated.”