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Ferris expresses concern over changes to LEADER programmes

26 October, 2005

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development, Martin Ferris TD, has voiced his concern over moves to lessen local democratic control over LEADER programmes. Deputy Ferris was responding to a reply from Minister Eamon O Cuiv, and to representations from people involved in local programmes who believe that plans to amalgamate groups will affect both funding and accountability.

Deputy Ferris said: "Minister O Cuiv refers to develop a unified structure covering existing LEADER groups. While he claims that this will deliver simplified delivery structures, the concern is that the proposals will lead to a significant dimunition of local control, and that LEADER groups will be taken away from the people directly involved.

"LEADER has been successful to the extent that it has for the very reason that it has involved a higher degree of community involvement and decision-making than other state and EU funded programmes. Any move away from that will reduce both their effectiveness and their ability to identify particular local needs." ENDS

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