Iorras Le Chéile Community Development Project on Main Street, Belmullet, is set to close after 13 years in operation in the Erris area. Four employees and two Rural Social Scheme workers have been served 30 days' notice. The project is managed by a local voluntary management committee with core funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.
Project co-ordinator Rose Conway-Walsh, who is one of the employees set to be made redundant, said: “The Local Community Development Programme (LCDP ), which was delivered by Iorras Le Chéile, concluded in April of this year and was replaced by the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP ). The contract for this programme was awarded to Mayo North East LEADER Company based in Foxford.”
She continued: “Iorras Le Chéile is a very busy resource centre providing supports and services for individuals and families in Erris. Over 2,500 people have used the project this year alone. We have run many innovative projects over the past 13 years including anti-bullying programmes, positive mental health and suicide prevention programmes, computer programming for children and teenagers, homework clubs, and a wide range of training courses. Mayo Women’s Support Services, The Carers Association and many other organizations use Iorras Le Chéile as a base from which to deliver services in Erris.
“My immediate concern is for the many vulnerable people who use the project and the services associated with the project as well as the staff who are losing their jobs. I appeal to those now responsible for implementing the Social Inclusion Programme in Erris to retain the resource centre in Belmullet and continue the development of initiatives to tackle social exclusion.”
Ms Conway-Walsh concluded: “I want to thank the voluntary management committee who have given thousands of hours over the years and who have supported the staff at this challenging time. I also want to thank all the statutory agencies and voluntary organisations who have worked in collaboration with Iorras Le Chéile to achieve all we have achieved.”