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Breathnach labels underspend on vital community and development schemes ‘unacceptable’

Breathnach labels underspend on vital community and development schemes ‘unacceptable’
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Local TD Declan Breathnach has said the underspend of vital community and development schemes in Louth is unacceptable and has called on Minister Michael Ring to ensure each county receives their allocated funding in the remaining months of the year.

Figures revealed from a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary to Minister Michael Ring show that only 25% of the funding allocated to Louth in recent years has been spent with the majority going on administration fees.

Deputy Breathnach said this was “seriously wrong” and needed to change.

He said: “ It is all well and good setting up these programmes and allocating funds, but there is something seriously wrong with the level of underspend of these budgets.

“Over €6 million was allocated to Louth in the 2014-2020 LEADER programme. However, with this frame nearly finished, only 25% of this funding has been spent. Out of the €1.5 million that was spent, a majority (€875,358) went on administration costs.

“Over €100,000 was allocated to Louth in the (ORIS) Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, but only 8% of this (€8,500) has been drawn down.

“The massive underspend shows a poor reflection of the Government’s policy towards rural and community development. Minister Michael Ring must resolve to spend the huge amounts of funds allocated to Louth and other Local Authorities across the country.”