And invented an entirely new ‘thematic’ strategy for developing disadvantaged areas, Fine Gael Cork City Senator Jerry Buttimer has said.
“Disadvantaged communities need a targeted goal-driven strategy, not a thematic strategy. We need to encourage all the stakeholders in these communities to take part in a strategic manner, and not using the thematic approach now being touted by Minister Ó Cuív.
“Considering the emerging economic climate it is extremely disappointing that many of the key recommendations of the Evaluation of the RAPID Programme, published in June 2006, have still not been implemented. These include:
– recommending that Government departments and agencies ensure that their Corporate and Business Plans include individual strategies for engagement with the RAPID process at local level;
– allocating responsibility to sufficiently senior individuals to deliver on their local obligations;
– and putting in place controls to ensure proactive engagement at every level.
“In particular, the recommendation that the Department of Enterprise and FÁS should investigate the feasibility of an incentive scheme for employers to take on staff from RAPID areas to counter problems of stigmatisation as a result of belonging to a particular group or residing in a particular area.
“Not for the first time the Minister has chosen to ignore the recommendations of another costly report he has commissioned.
“The RAPID programme is a worthwhile and necessary programme, but unless it is targeted in its approach and achieves substantial and visible goals it will continue to be seen as a supplement to Local Authority spending.”