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Ní Riada defends the role of local community groups in LEADER programme

25 September, 2014 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP


Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada has come out strongly in defence of the role of local community groups in the LEADER Programme

Ní Riada spoke today from the National Ploughing Championships in Laois where she met with stakeholders in the community and rural development sector, including representatives of LEADER groups, the Irish Local Development Network, and rural development officers of the IFA and other farming organisations.

She said:

“I am very concerned at new measures submitted by the Irish Government to the EU Commission, attempting 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 decisions of the last 15 years.

 “The proposed financial capacity measures will be a ‘double whammy for these local LEADER groups. Many will struggle to get  backing, while facilitating private companies, state, and semi-state bodies.

“The Governments appointment of Phil Hogan to the role of EU Agriculture Commissioner will give them opportunity to ‘rubber-stamp’ these submissions.

Sinn Féin will fight this issue both in local government and in Europe. We remain committed to retaining control of the LEADER programme at a grassroots level for the benefit of rural communities.

ENDS/CRÍOCH

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