LEADER funding for Kildare was criticised for being particularly low following a recent breakdown of figures.
LEADER is a multi-annual programme with a total budget of €250 million over the period 2014-2020 and just €5.3million has been given out in Kildare.
Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin, TD for South Kildare, criticised recent figures released which show low figures of the LEADER funding that has been allocated to Kildare.
€220 million of this funding has been allocated to the Local Action Groups (LAGs) throughout the country who deliver the LEADER programme. This funding is allocated to the LAGs for the full period of the programme.
“Kildare was allocated €5,261,600 in the LEADER funding and a mere 10% was allocated by the end of 2018. To see €528,832 of funding being received in Kildare as part of the LEADER funding is extremely disappointing when we know there is a lot more allocated for Kildare,” said Deputy O’Loughlin.
Rural development manager with Kildare Leader, Brian Kelly, said they are happy with how the project is progressing within the county.
“Obviously next year we’d like to look for a bigger allocation. These allocations would have been decided back in March 2015 and there was a cut for many counties nationally.
“We’ve been approved for a range of different programmes like rural tourism, community projects, community infrastructure, renewable energy, small enterprise and more. We have a very good pipeline of projects being rolled out.”
The Minister for Rural Development, Michael Ring commented in the summer of 2018 that he would undertake a review of the programme, and his department has acknowledged significant underspending of the programme due to the length of time it is taking for projects to be signed off.
“This review must be completed with urgency given the length of delays already occurred for the funding to be allocated,” Deputy O’Loughlin concluded.