Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Rural, Community, and Gaeltacht Affairs and Party Deputy Leader, Dara Calleary TD, says the latest data he has received on large underspend in capital funded schemes showcases how this Fine Gael led government is not delivering for rural Ireland.

“Reading the recent progress report on the Action Plan for Rural Development, one would think that all is rosy in rural Ireland.

“While funding may have been approved for LEADER, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, and CLÁR, the large underspend is an indictment of the maladministration by the current government.

“For example, just 3% of the €21 million allocated for the 2018 Town and Village scheme has been spent to the end of June this year, while 20% of the 2017 budget still remains unspent.

“A quarter of the 2018 CLÁR budget remains unspent. Meanwhile, there are just 17 months left in the current 2014-2020 LEADER programme and 76% of the total €250m fund remains unspent.

“These massive underspends are the hallmark of Fine Gael in government. It clearly evidences to a major dereliction of duty in delivering for rural Ireland. Furthermore, PQ replies released to me also show that almost 80% of the Department’s €138 million capital budget for 2019 remains unspent halfway through this year.

“Just 3% of payments have been paid to date out of the €52m allocated to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund this year.

“Minister Ring is very quick to talk up “approved funding” but that is no good if there no delivery of capital funds to important projects in rural parishes. The hubris from the Minister and his ministerial colleagues to any facts based criticism shows how out of touch they have become”.