Rural and Community Development | Ongoing dialogue with urban and rural/based groups
To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she and her Department continue to have dialogue with urban or rural-based groups, with a view to identifying deprivation or concerns which may need her intervention; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The mission of the Department of Rural and Community Development is to support vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland. The Department is in ongoing contact with local and community groups through the local structures such as Public Participation Network (PPN). The focus of the PPN is to empower and assist groups to participate in local decision making. This facilitates a two-way flow of information between the Local Authority and community groups. The Department also remains in close and constant contact with bodies that represent the local development and community and voluntary sectors.
My Department has a number of programmes that focus on improving the lives of people experiencing disadvantage, for example the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme, SICAP. This is our country’s primary social inclusion programme, providing funding to tackle poverty and social exclusion at a local level through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies. It is delivered in both rural and urban areas by Local Development Companies (LDCs) who work with the most disadvantaged and the hardest to reach in communities.
The current iteration of SICAP began on 1 January 2018 and will run until the end of 2023. My officials have begun the process of developing a new iteration of SICAP which will begin in 2024 which includes an independent review of the current programme and stakeholder consultation to inform the next programme iteration.
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