A total of €628,389 has been allocated for repairs and improvement works on non-public roads in rural communities in Westmeath, as part of the Government’s ‘Our Rural Future’ project, local Fine Gael Minister of State, Deputy Peter Burke, confirmed this week.
Deputy Burke said the announcement from the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, that a total allocation of €10.5m was the second investment this year and was a great boost for all in Westmeath.
The Local Improvement Scheme (LIS ) is designed to support the continued improvement of non-public roads in rural communities and improves access to rural homes and farms, as well as outdoor amenities such as our lakes, rivers, mountains and beaches. These roads and laneways are not normally maintained by locally authorities but, nonetheless, represent a vital piece of infrastructure for rural residents.
Deputy Burke said the county allocations are based on the level of works that each local authority indicated they could complete before the end of the year.
“The higher the level of demand that could be met by a local authority before the end of the year, the higher the level of funding they have been allocated,” the Fine Gael representative said.
The LIS scheme was re-introduced in 2017 and over 10,000 landowners and rural residents nationwide have benefitted to date.
“Being raised on a farm myself, I know the important of maintaining private roads and the costs associated with this for farmers so I am glad that Fine Gael reintroduced the scheme in 2017 after it was cut during the recession.
“Fine Gael understands the importance of the scheme, and I am glad that Minister Humphreys continues to support this funding in the same way as former Minister Ring. I continue to raise with them the importance of the LIS and the need for further allocations over the coming months,” Deputy Burke concluded.
Deputy Troy welcomes financial support
Deputy Burke’s thoughts were echoed by fellow constituent public representative, Deputy Robert Troy, who noted that the substantial investment supports rural dwellers and agricultural enterprises within the county.
“There has been huge demand locally for this scheme in recent years as homeowners and landowners seek to improve access to their properties. The additional funding announced by Government this week is hugely significant in assisting local authorities to work with groups of landowners in improving the quality of cul de sacs and laneways.
“I am aware that Westmeath County Council in particular have a substantial amount of LIS applications on hand and I am hopeful that the vast majority of these applications can now be dealt with through this additional funding. I would also encourage any homeowners or landowners who feel that they might be eligible for this scheme to contact my office to discuss the details of submitting an application,” Minister Troy stated.