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Leader funding ‘significant investment’ for Mayo - Taoiseach


LEADER funding ‘significant investment’ for Mayo - Taoiseach

Anton McNulty

THE allocation of over €11 million of LEADER funding for Mayo will lead to the protection of rural Ireland according to the Taoiseach and shows the government’s commitment to the county.
The county allocations for the LEADER element of the new Rural Development Programme were released last week with Mayo receiving a total of €11,121,431 of the overall €220m budget. Cork, Galway and Donegal were the only counties to receive more LEADER funding than Mayo.
Enda Kenny described the allocation to the county as a ‘significant investment’ and will allow for the ‘effective and efficient delivery’ of rural development across the county. He said that infrastructure such as roads and broadband will be funded by the new Rural Development Plan.
“The funding announced today will allow LEADER to continue and strengthen the role it plays in investing in local communities across Mayo. We want local government to lead economic, social and community development. This allows communities deliver efficient and good value services in a manner which represents the views of the people living there. This is vital,” he said.
Fellow Mayo TD and Minister for State, Michael Ring said that the allocation showed the government’s commitment to Mayo.
“The economic recovery is underway and the Government is determined that the recovery is felt in every corner of Ireland. Investment in the LEADER programme is of huge significance to Mayo.
“I know in Mayo there are any number of projects where funding is needed and will be of huge benefit. We are committed to empowering rural Ireland, to giving the local people of Mayo the opportunity to identify where the LEADER programme funding should go and in controlling the allocation at a local level,” he said.
However, Midlands North West MEP, Matt Carthy said there were still concerns regarding how the new funding structure will work and said the announcement of the funding is premature.
The Sinn Féin MEP said changes to the funding programme by the former Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan was ‘poorly conceived’ and there was uncertainty how the new structures will work.
“Under Phil Hogan’s reforms, which are being continued by Minister Alan Kelly, the new LEADER programme will be managed by council committees, with some co-opted community representatives. In other words the balance of influence has shifted from community to unelected local authority officials.
“It is my view that the Minister must, as a matter of urgency, liaise with all relevant stakeholders to ensure adequate funding for local projects and also to develop a system whereby for the communities that are supposed to benefit from Leader funding have the greatest say as how allocations are delivered at a local level,” he said.