Method for allocating LEADER funding must be reexamined - Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South, Liadh Ní Riada, has called on the Government to re-examine the way in which LEADER Funding is allocated.
Ní Riada said;
"LEADER is a brilliant programme that encourages and supports economic development and growth in our small towns and in our rural communities.
"It is a proven success, and investing in rural Ireland will pay huge dividends that will be felt throughout the real economy
"However, changes to the way LEADER funding is managed and administered have had devastating consequences. You need not look further than West Cork to see that reality."
Ní Riada continued by heavily criticising the decision not to select West Cork Development Partnership for LEADER funding despite its Local Development Strategy being “of an excellent standard."
"We have a situation where West Cork Development Partnership is deemed to have a programme of an excellent standard to deliver on the LEADER priorities´ and yet they found out that it had not been selected as a LAG for the LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
"This decision does not make any sense."
Ní Riada concluded by calling for a transparent approach to the allocation of LEADER Funds.
"The current system is unfair and favours only a select few. We must change the way the money is allocated. I am calling for a clear and transparent methodology to be employed in re-allocating LEADER funds.
"I will be meeting with the commission to raise these very serious concerns on the future of LEADER."