C: Gript

Rural communities “scapegoated again” as €245 slashed from new LEADER programme  

The leader of the Rural Independent Group of TDs, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, has demanded the government “come clean” and explain why it is “deliberately targeting rural communities” after a significant cut to the LEADER (2023-2027) programme.

“Last week in the Dail, I challenged the Taoiseach to explain why his government is slashing the funding for the LEADER programme. His response was truly flabbergasting, as he deliberately tried to wiggle his way out of answering and mislead the Dail in doing so, claiming that no cuts are taking place, despite the facts indicating otherwise,” the Tipperary TD said.

 The LEADER Initiative was established by the European Commission in 1991 and was designed to aid the development of sustainable rural communities following the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Deputy McGrath claimed that “only €180 million in total funding will be available for the programme for 2023-2027” which he said “represented an almost 60 percent cut (not allowing for the effect of inflation in real terms), when examined against the budget for the 2007-2013 Programme, which stood at €425 million.”

“On a year-for-year basis, this translates to an annual cut of almost €50 million, as only €36 million per year is available over the next five-year period, versus an annual allocation of €85 million over the 2007-2013 period.”

“The inflationary effect worsens these deep cuts, severely impacting the funds available for the delivery of important rural enterprise, tourism, job creation, and community-led projects nationwide,” he said.

“Therefore, the Taoiseach’s Dail response was disappointing and deeply cynical. It raises the legitimate question as to why he would purposefully spin his way out of acknowledging that his government is stripping all rural communities of these much-needed funds. Is he hoping rural residents won’t notice the funding cuts over the next five years? Perhaps so.”

“For more than thirty years, the LEADER Programme has been a proven and key driver of rural development and the lifeblood of community groups and small businesses. It has helped to create jobs in rural areas and develop rural communities.”

“Thus, this government’s intentional slashing of the LEADER Programme’s funding represents a crushing blow for all rural areas and sends a clear signal, despite the spin, that rural communities, who rely on this programme to support community-led local development, are being taken for granted.”

“Therefore, I am today calling on the Taoiseach and the government to come clean,  to explain their rationale for cutting LEADER’s funding. I am also calling on the government to immediately reverse this decision and provide a new programme that would deliver at least €85 million annually for rural areas over the next five years,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.

Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are open

Should Fr Sheehy apologise to Simon Coveney?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...