THE Limerick Public Participation Network (LPPN) has called on the local authority to resolve outstanding issues in “a timely and efficient manner” so they can access funding and pay their coordinator’s salary this month.
Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville asked at this month’s meeting of Limerick City and County Council if a Finance Service Level Agreement (SLA) had been agreed with the LPPN, and if not, what are the remaining issues that need to be resolved?
He was told that such an agreement had not yet been agreed.
“A number of issues are outstanding which require further examination prior to finalisation and the matter will be clarified further in the near future,” the council explained.
However, LPPN say that the local authority has cited an ‘internal audit review’ in their communication to them for this “latest delay” in agreeing the finance SLA.
A statement from the LPPN issued at County Hall this week said that it is “not now, nor is it ever intended to be, a structure internal to the local authority, and is in fact a fully autonomous and independent organisation operating in a transparent and inclusive manner on behalf of over 200 member’s groups throughout Limerick City and County”.
“We wish to further clarify that PPN funding, albeit delivered through Limerick City and County Council, is allocated from government and, when recently selected for a random audit from government, LPPN passed that audit successfully.
“However, for reasons unexplained or clarified to the LPPN, and despite numerous attempts and efforts by LPPN to gain clarification, Limerick City and County Council recently took the decision to withhold PPN allocated funding and have refused to meet with LPPN, as recently as January 16, 2018, to discuss and resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all involved.”
Cllr Prendiville told the Limerick Post that he is not satisfied with the answer he got from the local authority.
“The Council basically refused to answer my question as to why there has been such a delay in signing an agreement with the PPN. The PPN is the umbrella that brings together hundreds of great community groups across Limerick, because by coming together they can amplify their voice and impact on council policy,” Cllr Prendiville said.
“While the Council bosses won’t always like what the community groups have to say, they should respect their independence. Too often community groups have felt the council was trying to interfere, co-opt or tone down their work in the communities, especially where they might show up poor council policies and practices.
“The alternative to this is strong, vibrant independent community groups, with ordinary people right at the heart democratically controlling them, speaking up on behalf of communities, the marginalised and oppressed,” he concluded.
by Alan Jacques