Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has said the Rural Development Programme has been a great success. The West Tyrone MLA was commenting after the Assembly’s DARD Committee received an update from the local action groups representing rural communities throughout the North.
The Sinn Féin MLA said:
“This is a clear example why greater recognition has to be given to the important role that the Rural Development Programme (RDP) plays in boosting local communities.
“To date the programme has created 475 jobs and £75m will have been spent by the end of 2014. On top of this over 23,000 hours of volunteer effort have been invested.
“There is a huge demand for the programme in the rural community with over 6,300 applications, four times that of the available grant budget, invested in the programme.
“The success of the current programme and the demand for it shows that blocking the Agriculture minister’s decision to transfer extra funding to next rural development programme, does not make sense.
“It is projected that the 475 jobs already created by the programme will double by 2016. This is a good news story for rural communities and the minister and all those involved deserve the credit.”