SIPTU activists from the South Kerry Development Partnership and North and East Kerry Development led a crowd of over 300 people in a protest over plans to privatise Local Development Companies (LDC’s) outside the monthly meeting of Kerry County Council in Tralee yesterday. Following a heated two hour debate the Council rejected plans drawn up by Environment Minister Phil Hogan, to set up local community development committees to replace county development boards. It is the Governments stated intention that these new committees would put the services of LDC’s out to public tender i.e. effectively privatising them. The proposal was defeated by 16 votes to six. All Labour, Sinn Fein, Fianna Fáil and Independent councillors voted against the proposal, as did two Fine Gael councillors — Patrick Connor Scarteen and PJ Donovan. A number of councillors made specific reference to the Government’s plans to privatise public services.   People in the public gallery loudly applauded councillors who spoke out against the plans. SIPTU Lead Organiser Sharon Cregan welcomed the support of the Kerry councillors; “We’re delighted with today’s show of support for Local Development Companies and their employees. This is now a major issue in the upcoming local elections. The Government needs to pull back from these plans to privatise vital community services.”