Rural Westmeath to benefit from upgraded laneways and non-public roads - Dolan

Local Fine Gael Councillor, John Dolan, has welcomed Government funding which will be utilised to upgrade and improve laneways and non-public roads within County Westmeath.

Funding for the Local Improvement Scheme has been doubled to €22 million as part of Our Rural Future, the Government’s ambitious policy for rural development.

The Government announcement confirmed that County Westmeath will receive €358,320 towards the relevant works, a major increase in funding allocation under the Local Improvement Scheme for 2022.

“This extremely positive announcement will see our laneways and non-public roads in Westmeath receive improved access to homes, farms and outdoor amenities.

“Prior to this news, Westmeath Local Authority consulted with local residents and landowners to identify road and laneway projects where works could start immediately and be completed this year.

“Fine Gael is working to build stronger, safer communities and we want to see more people living, working and raising a family in our rural communities throughout the country. We will continue to fight for rural homeowners in Westmeath and make the case for further increases in funding.

“The funding provided by the Department will be complemented by a local financial contribution from landowners/households. There is a ceiling of €1,200 on the amount that any individual householder or landowner will be asked to contribute towards the cost,” Cllr Dolan asserted.

“The scheme provides substantial grant aid for the upgrade of these routes and assists homeowners with the costs. In many cases where there are multiple homes on a lane, neighbours will work together to draw down funding under the scheme.

“The Department of Rural and Community Development is now exactly five years old. I am proud during those five years my Department has provided over €100 million under the Local Improvement Scheme. That funding has delivered improvements on over 3,000 roads and laneways nationwide benefitting over 13,000 rural homes. The funding I am announcing today will see a further increase in those numbers with many more homeowners benefitting,” Minister Humphreys commented.

Portlick Funding

Meanwhile, Cllr Dolan has welcomed the allocation of €30,000 to Westmeath County Council by Minister Heather Humphreys for the development of the facilities in Portlick.

“I want to welcome this funding for the upgrade of the toilet facilities and the maintenance of the looped walks in Portlick, announced by Minister Humphreys this week. This funding will help to enhance the wonderful natural amenity that we are so lucky to have in Portlick.

“I am a member of a voluntary group formed over a year ago, representing the many different stakeholders using Portlick, who have been engaging with Westmeath County Council looking to develop and enhance the offering at this popular amenity. Presently, there is a study being conducted by consultants, engaged by the council to conclude by the end of the year and hopefully this will allow for access to much larger funding in the future.

“When the report is published from this study we will be in a much stronger position to seek more funding for the further enhancement of Portlick, but only in a way that won’t spoil the fabulous natural amenity that it is and the work that is being done at the moment will guide us as to what is the best way to do develop Portlick into the future,” Cllr Dolan concluded.


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