An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD and Ministers Ring and Moran launch new €10 million scheme to improve non-public roads in rural areas

Published 21 September 2017

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, and Minister of State for the OPW, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD have today launched a €10 million programme to support the improvement of non-public rural roads in 2017.

The Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) supports improvement works on private/non-public roads. Often these roads lead to multiple residences, parcels of land that support agricultural activity or 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.

Speaking at the launch of the programme at the National Ploughing Championships, the Taoiseach said: “I’m delighted that Minister Ring has launched a new round of the Local Improvement Scheme. It’s a really effective scheme to improve small roads, laneways and boreens which don’t come under the control of local authorities. 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. I pressed for its inclusion in the current Programme for a Partnership Government. So I commend Minister Ring for re-launching the scheme so soon after his appointment. It will be funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and delivered through local authorities.”

Minister Ring said: “The Local Improvement Scheme is about improving small roads and laneways in rural Ireland which are not under the normal maintenance of the Local Authorities. For people who live in rural areas, road connectivity is hugely important.  The Action Plan for Rural Development prioritises improving rural infrastructure and connectivity. Creating an LIS scheme is just one of the measures we are taking to improve that connectivity.

“I urge the Local Authorities to implement this programme and spend this money without delay. The upkeep of these roads is a priority for people who live in rural Ireland.  We haven’t been in a position to adequately fund the LIS scheme for the last number of years, but we made a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government that we would reinstate the scheme.  I am delighted therefore to be in a positon to honour that commitment by allocating these funds.”

Minister Moran said: “The re-launch of the Local Improvement Scheme is an important step in the Government’s drive to support rural Ireland. I know how important this scheme is for people who live in rural areas – and often in very remote rural areas. This funding, in conjunction with the local community’s own resources and the resources of the Local Authorities will allow for the maintenance and improvement of many local roads all over the country.”



Notes for Editors:

 Distribution of LIS funding to Local Authorities for 2017


County Area (km²) % of Total area Allocation
Cork 7,457 11.1% €1,000,000
Galway 6,148 9.2% €942,000
Donegal 4,841 7.2% €884,000
Mayo 5,585 8.3% €855,000
Kerry 4,746 7.1% €727,000
Clare 3,147 4.7% €482,000
Limerick 2,686 4.0% €411,000
Wexford 2,352 3.5% €360,000
Meath 2,342 3.5% €359,000
Kilkenny 2,061 3.1% €315,000
Wicklow 2,024 3.0% €310,000
Cavan 1,931 2.9% €295,000
Sligo 1,836 2.7% €282,000
Waterford 1,837 2.7% €282,000
Westmeath 1,838 2.7% €282,000
Offaly 2,000 3.0% €273,000
Laois 1,719 2.6% €264,000
Carlow 896 1.3% €250,000
Leitrim 1,588 2.4% €250,000
Louth 820 1.2% €250,000
Monaghan 1,294 1.9% €250,000
Tipperary 4,303 6.4% €237,000
Longford 1,091 1.6% €232,000
Roscommon 2,547 3.8% €208,000
TOTALS 67,089 €10,000,000

The Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) is a scheme for carrying out improvement works on private/non-public roads. Often these roads lead to multiple residences, parcels of land that support agricultural activity or amenities such as lakes, rivers or the ocean.

  • Previously, an allocation was provided to Local Authorities to support works on these types of roads.  This support was previously channelled through the then Department of the Environment and more recently through the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.


  • Due to the pressures on public finances during the recent recessionary period, specific allocations to Local Authorities for the LIS scheme had to be curtailed.


  • The Programme for a Partnership Government incudes a commitment to “reinstate a fully funded Local Improvement Scheme to support the maintenance and repair of non-local authority roads”.  This commitment is being addressed through the launch of the LIS scheme for 2017.


  • The re-introduction of the LIS is also an important part of the delivery of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development.  One of the Pillars of the Action Plan focuses on improving rural infrastructure and connectivity.