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Fianna Fáil Carlow Senator, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor, has said the underspend on LEADER funding, vital to rural communities, further demonstrates the Government's neglect of rural Ireland.
Senator Murnane O’Connor made the remarks as information which was provided to Fianna Fáil showed that just 23% of funding allocated to Carlow has been spent.
She said: "The information which we have received has shown massive underspends across the country in LEADER funding. In Carlow, of the €6,416,803 which has been allocated, just €1,461,568 has been spent to date.
"The purpose of LEADER funding is to enable rural communities to actively engage and direct the enhancement of their area through community-led local development.
"It’s vital to rural communities which have been left behind and are not seeing any economic recovery.
"The LEADER staff in Carlow are second to none but the bureaucracy which is impeding their access to funds is ridiculous. 24 projects have been approved for funding in Carlow – we need to be able to access it."
"Nationally over €60million has gone unspent on rural schemes across the country in 2017 and 2018. Tying these schemes in red tape is helping no one.
"Urgent action is needed by Government to ensure these funds are properly and efficiently distributed to support initiatives", added Senator Murnane O’Connor.