Minister Patrick O’Donovan said recent criticism of rural schemes only serves to undermine the value of the work of the communities that depend on them for funding

Added September 24th, 2019

The Minster of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Patrick O’Donovan said criticism of rural schemes only serves to undermine their value, and the work of the people in the community dedicated to completing vital rural projects.

The Minister of State from County Limerick was responding to criticism on key rural schemes and the time required by some groups to be in a position to draw down allocated funding.

Minister O’Donovan said, “First of all it is probably worth noting that in the course of the recent report, it was acknowledged that the multi-million-euro, Department of Rural and Community Development programmes’, are “vitally important rural schemes”, and I couldn’t agree more. That is why this Government reintroduced those cancelled by the previous Fianna Fáil led Government and introduced new schemes suitable for a new modern rural Ireland.”

“In fact this Fine Gael led Government was the first to introduce a plan for rural Ireland in the form of Action Plan for Rural Development. A key element of this plan was to provide financial support to local communities and organisations who are developing essential public facilities and services within rural communities.

“These volunteers and community groups are working tirelessly to ensure all local funding, planning, design work and other preparations are in place before they draw down the millions of euro ring-fenced for their project by the Department of Rural and Community Development,” he said.

“To criticise the time, it might take for such hard-working groups to be in a position to draw down all their funding, is to undermine their hard work and dedication. I would suggest that instead of subverting the great work being done in communities with the support of such schemes as the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure scheme; Town and Village Renewal scheme; CLÁR, the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS), the Rural Regeneration fund and LEADER, Fianna Fail would be better advised to look at each project in depth and see where they may be able to assist in moving the projects along.”

“I would like to advise any community group in Limerick who may have a difficulty in drawing down their allocated funding, that I am available to assist in any way I can. Rather than being the hurler on the ditch I work to get maximum amount for Limerick. I have been successful so far and will work to continue to do so.”

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