Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Development, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to commit funding from his Department towards the Local Improvement Scheme, which is currently solely funded by the Department of Rural Development.
The Local Improvement Scheme provides funding for the upgrade of rural roads and laneways which are not maintained by local authorities.
Speaking having raised the issue with Minister Heather Humphreys this morning, Teachta Kerrane said:
“There has been a backlog of Local Improvement Scheme applications in local authorities right across the state. The number of outstanding applications varies from local authority to local authority, however, demand remains high and the current funding available is not meeting demand.
“Having engaged with both Roscommon County Council and Galway County Council, demand for the scheme is strong and this is replicated right across the state.
“The Local Improvement Scheme was previously fully funded by the Department of Transport and I have asked many times that they begin providing an allocation towards the Scheme. It can and should be a joint venture by both Departments. This will not only clear the current backlogs but will put the Scheme on a more sustainable footing going forward.
“I understand that the Department of Rural Development is currently engaging with local authorities on the number of outstanding applications and I await these figures. However, backlogs for this scheme are not new.
“I am calling on Minister Ryan to commit funding from his Department to make a contribution to the Local Improvement Scheme. Given the importance of these roads and laneways for access for both families and farmers in rural communities, his Department should be contributing to this scheme.”