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Ní Riada to challenge ´Power Grab´ for LEADER

18 September, 2014 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada will meet with the Director General for the Environment at the European Commission next week in Brussels to outline her concerns regarding the draft submission put forward by the Irish government to the EU Commission on the LEADER programme.

Ní Riada said:

“I am very concerned that the new measures outlined in the submission mark a determined attempt to redefine the LEADER programme from being a genuine grassroots, community-based measure, to a programme completely subject to the political objectives of whatever Local Authority and Government happens to be in power at any given time.

“Flaws within the submission include plans that LEADER Groups will operate under the County Development Plans which have been responsible for many of the disastrous housing decision of the last 15 years.

“Also, LEADER Groups will have to adhere to new Local Economic and Community Plans which are not even developed yet and which will put projects at risk and thereby put jobs in jeopardy. There is also a danger that this delay will also increase the risk of projects not coming to fruition.

“I am extremely concerned about the financial capacity measures proposed. I believe this is a `double whammy’ for local LEADER groups. Some of them will find it difficult to get that type of backing, while facilitating private companies, state, and semi-state bodies.

"Furthermore it is worthwhile noting that the former Environment Minister, Phil Hogan who created this mess is likely to be the new Agriculture Commissioner. I am concerned that this will give him the opportunity to ´rubber-stamp´ this submission in his new position. 

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