Concerns grow for WLR centre

West Limerick Resources Manager Shay Riordan.
West Limerick Resources Manager Shay Riordan.

AS concerns grow for the future of West Limerick Resources (WLR), the organisation will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, May 7 in the Courtenay Lodge Hotel, Newcastle West to inform the community of the proposed changes to the local development sector and their potential impact.

The government is proposing changes to the way a number of community programmes will be delivered in the future - changes which WLR chairman Tom Madigan says will lead to serious questions on the future sustainability of local development companies.

"While negotiations have been on-going nationally between local development companies and the Department since last year, to date they have failed to clarify and agree what role, if any, the Department sees for local development companies like West Limerick Resources," he said.

"Over the last few months there have been a number of serious developments on this issue that could have very far reaching consequences for West Limerick Resources and the range of economic, community and social supports we have been delivering in West Limerick for over 20 years."

Urging the public to show up in their numbers in support of WLR, he said they will provide a detailed overview on all these recent developments and the community will have the opportunity to ask questions and make contributions.

Meanwhile, WLR manager Shay Riordan fears the proposed changes could see a new body, which is established by the local authority, take over the company's core programmes, side-lining the knowledge and experience that has been built up in West Limerick Resources.

"West Limerick Resources has over 20 years' experience of delivering supports to local communities and people with positive results. Simply put, the Local and Community Development Programme and the Rural Development (LEADER) Programme are our core programmes which support all the other work which we do.

"If one or both of these programmes is removed in part or in their entirety from West Limerick Resources all the other work which we do could potentially collapse. This is why we are so concerned by these proposed changes and why we feel the community should be also," he said.