Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has expressed his shock at the level of reduced funding the Donegal Islands are to receive this year.
The West Donegal TD said the announcement by the Government that €359,000 has been allocated to the all the Donegal Islands signals a reduction of 25% in funding levels on the 2017 figure.
Last year €450,000 was eventually allocated after an initial delay on the part of the Department but this year funding has been slashed by the Government for our Islands at a time when other areas are showing increased funding, he said.
He said “The figures across the board show reductions less funding for Arranmore Island which sees its funding reduced by 32%, Tory Island funding reduced by 28% and most other Donegal Islands failing to obtain any funding at all. This is a shocking indictment of the level of interest this Government really has for our Island communities,” he said.
He added that island communities in other counties have had their funding increased but Donegal has been the victim of a grossly unfair and savage cut in its Island Funding for this current year.
“It is totally unacceptable that our Island communities are being treated as second-class citizens by this Government and todays’ cuts must be reversed and I am requesting that an immediate second allocation of funding be made in order to address the imbalance created by these grant and funding allocations today.”
Pat the Cope added the allocation of €20,000 for the Lighthouse road on Arranmore Island is a paltry sum and purely a cosmetic exercise on the part of the Minister, the Department has already been informed by Donegal County Council that for the Lighthouse road between the public and non-public sections will require over €550,000 to improve therefore an allocation of a mere €20,000 will hardly fill the potholes with crush and run.
He said “Whilst, I have to state I do not fully agree with the amount of the estimate being supplied by the local authority for the Lighthouse Road it still remains abundantly clear that €20,000 is going to solve nothing in terms of the overall requirement for that road.
“The failure to include the Aphort Pier road especially the section from the pier to the slipway is very disappointing.
“Likewise no actual road funding has been allocated to Tory Island despite applications for funding of over €700,000 awaiting approval on the island. Similarly the other islands requiring funding such as Owey Island €132,000, Inishboffin €290,000, Gola €132,000, Innisfree €66,000, Rutland €69,000 and Inishkeeragh €59,000 none of these islands received any funding.”
He said a further €900,000 will also be required for Arranmore Island roads as per there application to the Department.
He added “Therefore the allocations made by the Department are well short of the figures required in order to carry out the improvement that are necessary on our islands and when one factors in an actual reduction in funding then the situation is considerably worse.”
He conlcuded that this round of funding for Donegal Islands is a poor reflection of the level of representation we have at Cabinet level, if at a time when other island communities see increases in the levels of funding they are obtaining but we in Donegal experience cuts of the nature of between 25% to 32% then something is wrong and there is a failure to get the Donegal message through to this Government added Pat the Cope.
“I am calling on the Government to make an additional allocation to our Islands from this year’s budget and to put in place a multi annual programme of funding that will affectively deal with the need for island funding on all the Donegal islands that currently have applications for funding with the Department,” he said.Tags: