Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice believes that today’s announcement regarding CLAR funding is further evidence that this Government is tightening the purse strings – to the detriment of rural Ireland.
Earlier today, the Minister for Community and Rural Development, Michael Ring, revealed that 104 CLAR applications would benefit from €3.8 million funding.
The money, divided amongst projects under measures one and two, is set to go towards safety measures and play areas for schools and communities.
Reacting to the announcement, the Roscommon-Galway TD said: “While it is important that we welcome the arrival of any funding to carry out these worthwhile projects, it is obvious that this funding run has been cut short by this Government.
“This continues the recent trend of Government departments failing to issue payments under the turf cutting cessation scheme on time. People have been left in limbo as the funds allocated for these payments seem to have been gobbled up elsewhere.
“The obvious blackhole is the National Children’s Hospital, which everyone knows has overrun its budget by some distance.
“We also know that the HSE is unable to fill over 1,300 staff vacancies due to a recruitment ban – while the current staff are run off their feet trying to look after patients who are, in a significant number of cases, asked to sleep on trolleys in hospital hallways.
“While the minister did allocate almost €4 million in this CLAR payment run. It falls well short of the grants awarded last year in Galway and Roscommon respectively.
“For instance, this year’s funding has been cut by over €330,000 for Co. Galway. A total of 6 projects have received just over €264,000. While in 2018, 15 projects benefited from €603,000.
“The drop in funding for Roscommon equated to approximately €72,000. Eight projects received slightly above €240,000 today,” Fitzmaurice said.
Having a knowledge of the recommendations submitted by each local authority to the department, the rural representative was left deeply troubled by the allocations – or lack there of.
Continuing, he added: “Having supported and assisted some of the applicants, I was extremely disappointed to hear of their absence in today’s funding room.
“It is disgraceful that grants have not been awarded to vital safety measure projects. 7
“The drop in funding for Galway and Roscommon, and indeed many other rural counties, is particularly difficult to take – given that both ministers within the department will depend on rural voters to retain their seats.
“While I agree that we must welcome any grants that are awarded, it is disappointing that ministers who are based in the west of Ireland allowed these cuts to happen,” Fitzmaurice concluded.
Michael Fitzmaurice TD – 086-1914565