In a newspaper article from 1987, whereas nearby Ballina was ‘rocked by unemployment, depression and emigration’, Killala was described as ‘a thriving centre of enterprise’ with ‘a solid industrial base in addition to a thriving fishing industry and successful co-ops’, which had largely been achieved through a mixture of ‘local cash and hard work’. A major factor in this success story was the democratically elected Killala Community Council, an example of a bottom-up, grassroots initiative. The concepts of self-help extended to the harbour, an agricultural co-operative and a fisherman’s co-operative, as well as a thriving community and sports centre. Parallels can be drawn with the work of Fr McDyer in the Glencolmcille area.
The Killala community, like its counterpart in Southwest Donegal, has experienced the contrasting effects of top-down, external intervention from government and multi-nationals via IDA advance factory policy, and smaller scale but perhaps ultimately more sustainable bottom-up, self-help ethos. It is worth noting that interdependence is still evident at the bottom-up level, as this activity is encouraged at a different scale through EU policy for rural development by way of the LEADER programme (Liaisons entre actions de developpement de l’économie rurale) which was established by the European Commission in 1991 and became available in Ireland in 1992. It was designed to aid the development of sustainable rural communities following the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy using a ‘bottom up’ approach, with the implementation of business plans and decisions on funding being made at a local level on projects.
Further information on the current Rural Development Programme (LEADER) 2014-2020.
Now move on to read Killala: the future.
See all the articles in this series
See all the series in the Change in the West of Ireland collection
This article is part of a collection on the 'Uniqueness, Interdependence, Uneven Development and Change in the West of Ireland'. To find out more about the collection, a good place to start is the introduction, Change in the West of Ireland. .