SINN Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the government’s failure to properly deliver European LEADER funding is costing jobs.
The Ireland South MEP repeated her call for Rural Affairs Minister Heather Humphreys to explain changes to the funding scheme after it was revealed that the new system was was frustrating efforts to construct a €500,000 food production facility in Baile Mhúirne in Cork.
“I have been dealing with community groups and councillors for months, all deeply frustrated with the changes that have been made to the LEADER funding scheme,” she said.
“LEADER funding has been a lifeline for rural communities for 25 years but recent changes to the way it is delivered are not only causing communities to lose out, they are making the scheme more expensive to deliver.
“The most recent example of the Minister’s failure to deliver the programme properly is the news that a €500,000 food production facility in Baile Mhúirne is being held up because of the scheme.
“This facility would not only see the expansion of a successful home grown Irish business but would also double the factory’s staff in a rural area that would greatly appreciate the jobs.
“Every week I am contacted by different groups all with the same complaint about the changes to LEADER and all adamant that unless something is done soon their areas will lose out on vital facilities and funding.
“It is long past time the Minister took her head out of the sand and addressed the concerns of rural Ireland.”