Deliberately misleading information by government politicians, designed to undermine the LEADER programme, has been revealed in an answer to a parliamentary question this week according to Independent MEP Marian Harkin.
“20% was allowed by the EU for administration costs for LEADER programmes,” she said, and Minister of State Ann Phelan had revealed that in fact, the 35 LEADER companies would have administration costs below 20% when €17 million yet to be paid to projects was finalised, the MEP said.
“The unacceptable campaign commenced by former Minister Phil Hogan to undermine LEADER companies had included the leaking of the salaries of CEO’s to the media,” she said. “This unedifying and undermining act was all the more misleading when it was shown that civil and public servant salaries for equivalent grades were in general higher”, she stated. Harkin also noted the Taoiseach “misleading the Dáil” in a reply he gave on March 25th when he said that the administration costs of LEADER amounted to 33%.
“This outlandish exaggeration, coupled with unfair implications by the Tanaiste, reveals the willingness of senior politicians to mislead in order to attain an objective”, Harkin stated.
Leitrim Integrated Development Company claimed €1,948,062 by April 30, 2015.