Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has called on the Department of Rural and Community Development to restore funding to the Local Improvement Scheme to €5m and extend the expressions of interest deadline.

“The Local Improvement Scheme saw the State providing funds to local authorities to help towards the cost of maintaining private rural roads. However the Government effectively abolished the scheme in 2011 by eliminating specific state funding. This has left roads across Cavan and Monaghan, particularly in rural areas in a state of disrepair”, said Deputy Smyth.

“Minister Ring’s Department recently opened up a consultation process for local authorities to come forward with eligible projects for the scheme. However the deadline is September 14th which means many rural dwellers will not have had a chance to contact the Council with their proposed projects. This deadline should be extended so we can have a fair and accurate assessment of what works are needed.

“Most importantly, the Government needs to fully restore funding to the scheme.  €5m was set aside for LIS in 2011, before it was abolished by Fine Gael.  The Programme for Government states that “we will expand the scheme to include the taking in charge of non-council roads with a view to having this scheme up and running by end 2017”, and Fianna Fáil has continually pressed this issue with the Minister. There should be an allocation of €5m made in Budget 2018 to ensure this scheme is fully operational again,” Deputy Smyth concluded.