Fianna Fáil on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív says the Department of Rural & Community Development is stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario as once again it is failing to spend its capital allocation in time.

The Department has a capital allocation of €88m for 2018 but at the end of April this year only €6m, or less than 7% of the funding, has been spent.

Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “Last year the Department of Rural & Community Development failed to spend its allocation of funding and had to return €19m in capital and current funding to the Exchequer.  We appear to be heading in the same direction this year as the Department is failing to spend the money allocated to it in the first four months of the year.  Compared to profile, spending is running €10m behind what has been earmarked.

“This is a matter of serious concern and I am now calling on the Minister of Rural & Community Development, to outline in detail what plans he has to ensure that all of the €88m capital allocated to him for this year is spent.

“Rural Ireland urgently needs this funding and he has a responsibility to ensure that this money is allocated and spent.  It serves nobody if it has to be returned to the Exchequer at the end of the year.

“This Department’s failure to spend the money in the first year was a major mistake, and to repeat this, despite consistent warnings, would pose very serious problems for rural Ireland”.