Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly Seán Fleming has expressed outrage over the level of cuts to rural development funding in Laois. It’s emerged that communities in Laois are being hit with cuts of €2.4m to local funding under the LEADER programme. The last LEADER programme had funding of €9.5m for LAOIS LEADER and this is now being cut by €2.4m to €7.1m under the new programme.
Worse still, it’s happening at a time when rural communities in this region can least afford it. Our towns, villages and rural areas have benefited greatly from LAOIS LEADER and the local jobs it created. There is no doubt that the latest cuts to the programme will be seen on the ground and will have a major impact on job creation in rural areas across Laois.
“This is just the latest example of this government cutting services dedicated to rural communities. Communities across Laois have already seen Bus Éireann abandon Abbeyleix, Durrow, Cullohill, Mountrath, Castletown, Borris-in-Ossory, Ballylinan, Newtown and Crettyard. The government has closed the Garda station and the post office in Ballacolla and the Garda Station in Ballinakill. This is in addition to closing the community welfare offices in Mountrath, Borris-in-Ossory, Ballylinan and other towns”, said Deputy Fleming.
“This savage attack on LAOIS LEADER is just the latest example. The Government is taking power away from these companies by transferring the funding to the county councils and also imposing a dramatic cut in the level of funding available to communities.
“The government is prioritising rural Ireland when it comes to cuts and Dublin and other cities when it comes to growth.”