Aras an Chontae, Carrick-on-Shannon.
In welcome news the Leitrim Observer has received confirmation that funding will be allocated to completing Local Improvement Schemes this Autumn.
All Local Authorities have been notified of plans to allocate funds in 2017. Leitrim County Council has been asked to forward a list of eligible LIS projects which could be completed before before the end of the year.
At present there are more than 200 LIS applications seeking funding and it is envisioned that the Council will select appropriate projects from this list.
All lists have to be submitted by Local Authorities to the Department of Rural and Community Development by September 14 when a decision will then be made on allocations to each Council area.
This is very welcome news as councillors have long campaigned for the restoration of funding for this scheme. This specific grant allocation was in place until 2011 but it was then removed and replaced with a scheme whereby a local authority could allocate up to 15% of its discretionary roads budget to local improvement schemes while the local community could make a contribution of 20% of the cost. However few Council had the surplus funds necessary to ensure a continuation of LIS.
Local TD, Martin Kenny, told the Leitrim Observer that he had received a commitment from Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, that funding would be found for the LIS this year. The commitment was given during a meeting organised with councillors from the Ballinamore Municipal District Area.
"I am delighted that funding has been secured. There is an extensive list of eligible projects in Co Leitrim and hopefully more funding will be allocated next year," he said.
Cllr Seadhna Logan told the Leitrim Observer "The re-introduction of this scheme would see many smaller roads and lanes get the much over due work they require. Our council must be prepared and have the capacity to finish any proposed works by the year's end to draw down these funds if they do indeed become available."
He noted the restrictive timeframe for submissions by Local Authorities for the scheme acknowledging this "will put a strain on smaller counties who have been starved of resources and staff over the last number of years, but if we have a number of viable projects ready to go, there is no reason why they could not be completed under this new scheme by years end."