Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte says LEADER companies in Galway are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs for its failure to allocate funding to LEADER projects in the county.

It’s more than 3 years on from the launch of the latest round of the LEADER programme, but some companies are still waiting for their projects to be approved.

Deputy Rabbitte commented, “The LEADER programme has become a bureaucratic nightmare, which has resulted in a painstakingly slow approval system and a lack of funding for projects across the county.

“I have been contacted by LEADER companies who are extremely frustrated with the lack of funding approvals to date.  They’re still waiting for a response from the Minister on foot of a number of queries which they have submitted about their financial returns and accounts.  The organisation has no issue in complying with the assessment guidelines but that are still waiting for a direction from the Department.

“There are communities in Galway which are dependent on services that are rolled out by the LEADER programme.  The fact that these companies are still waiting for their approval and funding three years after the latest scheme was launched is disgraceful and these communities are suffering.  The Department has serious questions to answer about the amount of time it is taking for these projects to be approved.

“I am urging the Minister to take control of the situation to ensure that this process is expedited so that this essential funding can be drawn down and these important projects can get underway”.