The lack of progress in Ballina Town Council’s application for funding under the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s RAPID Programme is frustrating and unacceptable, according to local TD Dara Calleary.
Deputy Calleary said: “Following persistent lobbying and representation, the former Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon O’Cúiv approved Ballina’s inclusion in the RAPID Programme in May 2009. At that time €250,000 was allocated under Dormant Accounts Catch Up Funding for new RAPID areas.
“Under the scheme, the funding would be drawn down over a two-year period and used for stand-alone projects designed to target specific social infrastructural issues. Projects were endorsed by the AIT in October 2010 and submitted to Pobal for approval. It was anticipated that the funding would be made available in February 2011.
“I raised the matter in the Dáil on May 18th last and again this week. However, the Minister Phil Hogan has still refused to release the funds. Instead he replied that projects have been assessed and prioritised by Pobal and these are currently being considered by his Department in the context of the reduced level of funding available in the current year and in the context of the review of expenditure that is being undertaken.
“Given that Ballina Town Council’s application for funding for two capital projects has been submitted and is awaiting approval since October 2010 is a clear indication that the Government is dragging its heels in relation to the Programme. This latest reply to a Parliamentary Question put down by me in the Dáil shows that no progress has been made since my last query towards the end of May. This is totally unacceptable and I am calling upon the local Government TDs to progress this matter without any further delay.”