The Community Development Programme, first established in 1990, is to be absorbed into a new unnamed programme that also incorporates the Local Development and Social Inclusion Programme.

The announcement was made on Friday (Sept 18th) by Minister of State (MOS) John Curran at a Community and Voluntary Forum conference in Co. Cavan, although details on the plan were not given.

‘Changing Ireland’ has requested an interview with the MOS on questions that arise from the announcement.

In his speech in Cavan, he said:

“I am seeking improved alignment and focus across the range of programmes for which I have responsibility in the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. In this regard, I have been giving particular attention to the redesign of the Local Development Social Inclusion and the Community Development Programmes.

“I have to say that I am not convinced that two separate programmes and two separate delivery structures is the best way to serve the community. In the current economic climate, the case for a single focussed effective programme is, in my view, indisputable and I will be fighting for resources for the measures covered by the programmes on this basis in the context of the 2010 Budget.”

An accompanying press release, which described the process in terms of the “integration” of the 2 programmes, quoted MOS Curran as saying: “We will continue to do everything we can to improve efficiency and prioritise the provision of frontline services to those who need them the most. One single, focussed programme will ensure that services will be more streamlined and will best serve those who use them.

“We are currently undertaking a thorough review of the Community Development Programme and will shortly have a full report on the findings and recommendations that arise from that review.

“Programme redesign work by the Centre for Effective Services is underway. Overall, we are preparing for a roll-out of a single, redesigned programme in 2010, in the context of the budgetary position.”

John Curran is the Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy and Community Affairs at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. He is from Clondalkin in Dublin.