LEADER companies in Galway are becoming “increasingly frustrated” with the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs for its “failure to allocate funding to LEADER projects in the county”.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte, who said it is now “more than three years on” from the launch of the latest round of the LEADER programme, but “some companies are still waiting for their projects to be approved”. She described LEADER as “a bureaucratic nightmare” which has resulted in “a painstakingly slow approval” system, with a lack of funding for projects across the county.
The TD says she has been contacted by LEADER companies who are, “extremely frustrated with the lack of funding approvals to date”, and that they are “still waiting for a response from the Minister” on foot of queries submitted about financial returns and accounts.
“There are communities in Galway dependent on services that are rolled out by the LEADER programme,” said Dep Rabbitte. “The fact these companies are still waiting is disgraceful. These communities are suffering. The Department has serious questions to answer about the amount of time it is taking for these projects to be approved.”