North West hit with savage cuts to LEADER funding – Mac Sharry

‘Funding slashed in latest allocations’

Sligo News File Online

Senator MarcMacSharry, Fianna Fail.
Senator MarcMacSharry,
Fianna Fail.

Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry has expressed outrage over the disproportionate level of cuts to rural development funding in the North West region. It’s emerged that funding for Co. Sligo has been cut by 21%, Donegal funds have been reduced by 36%, while the money for Leitrim is being slashed by 41% over the next six years. Meanwhile, funding for Dublin is to be increased.

 Senator Mac Sharry has described it as yet another attack on communities across the North West, at a time when they can least afford it. Most counties are being hit with significant cuts but Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal have been singled out for a particularly severe cutbacks.

“This is just the latest example of the slash and burn of services dedicated to rural communities. Across the North West there have already been savage cuts to resources and local services and we are now learning the extent of cuts to vital rural development funding,” said Senator Mac Sharry.

“The Government’s efforts on rural Ireland are based entirely on spin and optics, while behind closed doors they are engaged in dismantling the very fabric of rural communities. The savage attack on LEADER companies is just the latest example. While the broader EU area attempt to replicate the Irish rural development distribution structure which they claim is the “best model for delivery”, this Government is taking power away from these companies by transferring the funding process to local authorities. This is resulting in dramatic cuts to the level of funding available to local communities and may well cost jobs.

“Worse still, it’s happening at a time when rural communities in this region can least afford it. Our towns and villages have benefited greatly from LEADER companies and the local jobs they have created. There is no doubt that the latest cuts to the programme will be seen on the ground and will have a major impact on job creation in rural parts of Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.

“It is not enough for the Government to simply say that it prioritises rural Ireland. We need more than empty promises.  Communities here need to see the resources to allow them perform to their potential.”