Projects allocated money through Leitrim Integrated Development Company are being urged to draw down funding in the coming months.
Although Leitrim’s Development Company has allocated in excess of 95% of their €10.2m budget, only approximately €3.5m or 35% has been paid out so far, according to Government figures.
Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD is now urging all Local Development Companies (LDCs) to ensure that all of the money is fully committed and spent before the end of the programme this year.
While some LDCs have issues with allocations, Leitrim Integrated Development Company has an excellent record in allocating funding but must still rely on those drawing down funding, to meet their obligations.
The Minister said he is worried about allocations made to projects where issues have not arisen regarding match funding or other problems mean that funding will not be drawn down.
Unless the LDC is notified and the money de-committed before the end of year deadline, the LDC will not be able to reallocate the funding and it would be, therefore, lost.
“Only six months remain for projects to obtain approval and any project which doesn’t proceed by the end of the year will lose their allocation.
Any project which does not think that it will be able to meet deadline should notify their LDC so that funding allocated can be returned and reallocated to another project, said Minister Hogan.
Nationally last year only 60% of the funding provided for LEADER was actually spent and this meant that €39m allocated was not drawn down by Local Development Companies for projects.
“My sole wish is to ensure that every euro of this valuable funding is allocated and drawn down within the relevant time constraints and that we are not in the same position at the end of this year, with scarce resources allocated for the LEADER Programme remaining unspent,” added the Minister in a statement to the Leitrim Observer.
The Minister went on to say, “I am also asking the Local Development Companies to re-examine their spend on administration to see if it can be reduced to the bare minimum to free up additional funding for actual projects.”
“It is imperative that we maximise the spend on projects and that local communities see the benefits on the ground. I am convinced that savings can be made in this area,” Minister Hogan concluded.