Deputy Martin Browne: concerns for rural Ireland under LEADER funding
Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has said that the disappointing level of funding provided to the LEADER Programme as part of indicative CAP measures will come as a blow to rural communities and must be rethought.
“Leader funding is essential for rural development, and the contribution that our development companies have made towards Tipperary cannot be over emphasised," he said.
However, Deputy Browne said that the allocation of €180m for the period 2023 to 2027 as part of the indicative CAP measures as revealed during the week confirmed that the decline in funding for recent programmes was set to continue.
“It has been described to me locally as ‘the most negative blow for Rural Ireland in the 30-year history of the programme’," he said.
The Cashel-based TD said that efforts to represent the latest allocation as amounting to €250m was "disingenuous", as €70m of this was previously announced to cover the transitional period for LEADER between now and 2023.
“It must also be noted that we had to fight hard for that transitional funding, and I engaged heavily with South Tipperary Development Company and the Irish Local Development Network in that effort, raising the issue in the Dáil," he said.
Deputy Browne said that his party was also already hearing that some partnerships across the State were already running out of funding, and it was only 2021.
He said that the continued decline in funding for LEADER programmes was a show of complete disregard for the development of rural communities, and also ignored the role our rural communities can play in light of the impact of the Covid pandemic and climate change.
“We need to enable people to live and work locally. Therefore, we need to continue developing rural areas and make their economic attractiveness to prospective industries through the development of services and infrastructure," said Deputy Browne.
He said that the Minister for Agriculture needed to reconsider this abandonment of rural development and provide our LEADER and Development Companies with the resources they needed to fulfil the potential of our rural communities, and support the important role they had to play in realising our climate ambitions.
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