Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has expressed serious concern at the failure of Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to bid for any additional funding in the June monitoring round.
The West Tyrone MLA said:
“I’m disappointed DAERA has not bid for any money in the June monitoring round.
“DAERA’s failure to make any bids even though £29.7 million capital funding is still unallocated brings in question that Department’s ability to forward plan and meet needs in rural areas.
“During the budget debate in recent weeks and repeatedly in the committee. I have publicly called on the DAERA Minister to bid for additional funds for a rural basic services scheme.
“There is an abundance of community organisations which have ‘shovel ready’ projects to improve health and well-being in rural areas but they need the DAERA Minister to support them.
“Given what communities have recently come through with Brexit and COVID, I find it extremely frustrating that DAERA has not identified any need for additional funding, despite the funding being available.
“This will result in lost opportunities for rural dwellers and I feel very strongly that communities are being let down in this regard.
“I will be raising this issue again at the committee this week.”