Sinn Fein TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn has again appealed to the Government to reverse their “devastating” cuts of €10M to LEADER funded projects and community groups across the county.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn had raised the matter with the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly this week to no avail.
He said he was shocked when Government representatives in Donegal and across the state welcomed these draconian cuts when they must know that this is devastating news for rural communities that are struggling to recover from the economic depression of recent years.
“It is particularly shocking that Government representatives in Donegal, a county that suffered worst of all would welcome this news.
“The facts are that the funding allocated to LEADER groups in Donegal for 2007- 2013 exceeded 23 million euro for the Donegal Local Development Company, Inishowen Development Partnership and including funding allocated to the Donegal Gaeltacht through Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta (MFG).
“That funding has been slashed to just under 13 million euro for this funding period of 2014- 2020. Rather than addressing this crisis for rural development in Donegal, I got nonsensical waffle from the Minister including this remarkable statement “the impact of the funding, while decreased, will be maximised to support the sustainable development of our rural communities”.
He said LEADER funding is a dynamic bottom up programme that has made a real difference in Donegal down the years.
And he added that our main strength in Donegal is our sense of community and the spirit of volunteerism that is so strong from Malin Head to Glencolumbcille.
“Another strength is our entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic. LEADER complimented those strengths and now those communities and potential businesses are being punished rather than rewarded.
“I am again appealing to the Minister to introduce a parallel funding programme, funded by the exchequer to compensate local communities in Donegal and across the state for this serious financial loss. And I am inviting Fine Gael and Labour representatives to support my appeal”.
LEADER Allocations to Donegal groups 2007- 2013
Donegal Local Development Company Ltd. €12,831,901
Inishowen Development Partnership €8,286,143
Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta* €17,278,809
*Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta (MFG) went into liquidation in 2012 .
LEADER Allocations 2014-2020