Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has called on the Government to examine outstanding issues with the LEADER programme, particularly surrounding the application process.

Senator Murnane O’Connor made the comments after obtaining new information which shows that 5 applications for funding in County Carlow are still outstanding.

Senator Murnane O’Connor 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. There have been 16 applications for LEADER funding received in Carlow, well down on what would normally be expected. The complex bureaucratic process has put many people off from applying for funding under the scheme.

“There are communities in Carlow 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 four 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.”