Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West has accused the Government of turning its back on people living in areas of urban deprivation.  His comments come on foot of a Parliamentary Reply, which revealed that Minister Kelly is winding down the RAPID area fund.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “The RAPID scheme has been integral in regenerating disadvantaged urban areas by prioritising initiatives that improve the quality of life for thousands of people across the country.  These include family support programmes, urban improvement programmes and the building of new recreation projects like playgrounds.  Despite the success of this fund, Minister Alan Kelly appears to be signalling the end of the programme.

“Minister Kelly has been chipping away at this programme by failing to take any interest in the management or running of the scheme.  He’s admitted that he has not formally met with the Chairs or the Co-ordinators of the RAPID programme in the last year, and he has indicated that he has no plans to do so.  This goes against the example set by the previous Government, whereby quarterly meetings were held to discuss issues, assess progress and ensure that projects were being advanced.  This was in addition to an annual conference involving delegates from the Area Implementation Teams.  Under this Minister, none of these meetings are being held.

“The RAPID programme has been a lifeline to the 41 communities which have benefitted from its funding and projects.  It’s a disgrace that it is being allowed to fall by the wayside, however it is typical of this Government’s attitude to disadvantaged areas, especially in places outside of Dublin.

“I will be continuing to press Minister Kelly about the status of this essential scheme and am committed to ensuring that the programme will be fully restored under any future Fianna Fáil Government”.