Donegal communities are set to lose out on vital funding from Europe for community projects as a result of significant under-spend in the LEADER programme, according to Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill.
Answering questions from Fianna Fáil in the Dáil, the Environment Minister Phil Hogan admitted that millions in funding provided by Europe for the LEADER programme could go to waste as it won’t be drawn down in time.
Senator Ó Domhnaill said he now intends to raise the matter now in Seanad Éireann.
“We risk losing €50 million of European funds for crucial community projects due to Minister Hogan’s mishandling of the LEADER programme. The final date for the approval of community projects under LEADER is 31st December next. This deadline is fast approaching and yet Minister Hogan is continuing with his policy of holding back companies from getting on with the process.
“The Minister already had a ban on approving new projects between January and May of this year, and now further funds are being withheld until after the end of August. It will be too late then to begin the process of finding substitute projects for those that cannot proceed, as there will only be a tiny window to get planning permission and additional finance. Many projects will be dropped as a result,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.
Donegal Councillor Patrick McGowan said many vital community projects in Donegal are stalled as a result of Minister Hogan’s actions.
“Many projects across Co Donegal which had been approved under LEADER are still awaiting the payment of those funds. The Government has been dragging its heels in allowing Donegal Local Development Company to pay out approved funds. As a result many employment recreational tourism related projects which could benefit from these funds are being denied this opportunity even though the money is sitting there.
“Minister Hogan needs to engage with LEADER companies immediately and work out a way to ensure that all of this funding can be drawn down. It would be shameful for the Minister to allow our rural communities to lose out on millions in funding from Europe because not enough projects will be approved by the end of this year,” said Cllr McGowan.
Posted: Jun 1, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized