Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, TD has described the massive cuts to LEADER Programme funding in Donegal as disastrous for communities across the county.
He has called on the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Alan Kelly to urgently review these massive cuts and to work with his Government colleagues in implementing a parallel funding programme to adequately compensate local communities for this “serious and devastating financial loss.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn was responding to the announcement by Ministers Alan Kelly and Ann Phelan in which it was revealed that LEADER Programme funding in Donegal, for the next five years, has been cut from €21 million in the previous programme down to just under €13 million.
Some parts of Donegal including Inishowen will see their funding halved.
He said “This massive cut represents a disaster for communities across Donegal.
“It is beyond me how any government Minister can stand over such a move while claiming to be acting in the best interests of rural towns and villages throughout Ireland. It is a disgrace that Government TDs are now spinning this as a positive development”.
“The reality is that this move will have devastating consequences for local development programmes throughout Donegal. Local Development Programmes will face the possibility of closure. Local development workers, many of whom are already on short-term and protective notice, face the prospect of losing their jobs.
“Donegal is now on the verge of losing the vital contribution these organisations make in terms of fostering rural jobs, enterprise and social inclusion initiatives. The move completely undermines local rural development strategies in Donegal and furthers the erosion of the community-led ethos that has made these programmes so successful.
“These huge cuts represent yet another phase in this government’s sustained attack on rural Ireland.”
He concluded that he is now calling on Minister Alan Kelly to urgently review these massive cuts and to work with his Government colleagues in implementing a parallel funding programme to adequately compensate our local communities for this serious and devastating financial loss.