Slow spending of LEADER funding comes under heavy criticism

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Deficiencies in delivering money to projects that get approval for LEADER funding have been called out as only €52,285 has been spent in Galway this year out of nearly €1.5 million approved for projects.

In Galway West €52,285 has been spent out of an approved budget of €381,245 for this year.

While in Galway East more than €1 million has been approved for projects, without anything being spent.

These figures were given in response to a question in the Dáil from Galway West TD Eamon Ó Cuív.

“We are more than halfway through this current Leader programme but only 14% of projects in Galway West have received their funding,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

“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.”

Grant aid provided by the LEADER project from the Department of Rural and Community Development falls under one of three categories.

Economic Development, Enterprise Development and Job Creation; Social Inclusion; and the Rural Environment.

The programme is administered by Local Action Groups like Galway Rural Development, which are responsible for selecting and approving projects in their area.

Deputy Ó Cuív said that the programme has been hampered by bureaucracy and the late allocation of contracts.

“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.”