Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has expressed grave concern about the slow roll-out of the LEADER Programme, particularly under Galway Rural Development.

Based on figures recently supplied to Deputy Ó Cuív in the Dáil it has emerged that only €52,285 has been spent in Galway West out of a total approved budget of €381,245.  However, the situation in Galway East is even more worrying – more than €1m in funding has been approved for project but not one cent has been spent.

“The situation with LEADER has been allowed to spiral out of control.  More than €200m worth of projects was approved back in 2014 and to date only €8.6m has been spent nationally.  This is a shocking indictment of this government’s record on community and rural issues”, said Deputy Ó Cuív.

“I am calling on the Minister to ensure expeditious roll-out of the LEADER Programme.  We are more than halfway through this current Leader programme but only 14% of projects in Galway West have received their funding.  This is a very serious issue, which is impacting communities across the county.  These projects must be completed by the end of 2020 but this timeline will prove very tight for some of these companies considering the fact that they haven’t received their payments yet.

“There have been major difficulties in this programme, particularly with bureaucracy and the late allocation of the contract, but the Minister must make up for lost time.

“Minister Ring must not engage with officials in his Department to ensure that the money is paid out to Leader companies in a more efficient manner so that the companies can continue their essential work”.