The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, today announced a further €7.4 million in funding for Local Authorities under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) to support the improvement of non-public rural roads in 2017. This brings to €17.4 million, the amount invested by the Government in non-public rural lanes, boreens and access roads this year.
These roads provide vital access to homes and farms as well as amenities such as lakes, rivers or the ocean. The Department of Rural and Community Development will provide up to 90% of the funding through the Local Authorities, with the remaining contribution coming from local residents, or Local Authorities in the case of roads leading to public amenities. Funding was allocated to all counties who submitted an application for funding and indicated a capacity to complete works before the end of the year.
Minister Ring said: “The Local Improvement Scheme is about improving small roads and laneways in rural Ireland which are not maintained by the Local Authorities. I cannot overstate how important these roads are to people in rural areas. They enable them to access their homes and farms but many have fallen into disrepair.
“There was a hugely positive response when the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and myself announced €10 million in funding for these roads at the National Ploughing Championship in September and I am delighted to be able to announce a further €7.4 million today.
“These roads give access to homes, farmyards, agricultural land and business premises, and are often heavily used, but because they fall outside of direct local authority control, many need upgrading. It’s only right and fair that some of the motor tax, excise duty on fuel and local property tax paid by people in rural areas is invested in the repair of shared laneways that connect their homes, farms and businesses to the public road network.
“Funding will be provided to 19 Local Authorities based on the amounts they have requested and their stated capacity to complete the work before the end of the year. Donegal County Council has been allocated €2.5 million having indicated that it has a particularly high demand for improvements to non-public roads as a result of the damage caused by local flooding in August. I believe this will support will go a long way in helping people to get their lives back on track after the damage inflicted by the flooding.
“This funding gets right to the heart of rural Ireland. Since we launched the initial LIS Scheme in September, I have been inundated with positive feedback from around the country and there’s a clear demand for more support for this work. The Action Plan for Rural Development prioritises improving rural infrastructure and connectivity. Funding an LIS scheme is just one of the measures we are taking to improve that connectivity.
Minister Ring concluded: “The Republic of Opportunity is focused on ensuring that all parts of Ireland share prosperity and economic growth whether it is through new roads, broadband, better third level institutions and more job opportunities. I will ensure that my Department continues to invest in infrastructure to support rural people in their daily lives.”
Notes to Editors:
See amounts received by Local Authorities. Allocations were made on the basis of demand and stated capacity to spend the money before end of 2017.
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