Cathaoirleach says allocation 'makes a mockery' of LIS
The Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Aontú's Sarah O'Reilly has said the allocation for Cavan of € 289,254 for 2021 Local Improvement Scheme makes a mockery of the communities it serves.
The funding is a slight increase on last year’s allocation of €269,240 when Cllr O'Reilly says a “measly” four rural lanes were mended. However, when inflation and the increase in the cost of materials is considered, she claims the sum allocation actually a “decrease” in funding of the scheme - “an absolute joke!” Cllr O'Reilly decried.
There are currently more than 220 applications from rural farming communities, some waiting more than 13 years on a list that Cllr O'Reilly says has “stagnated” for more than 10 years.
She added that the announcement of funding from Minister Heather Humphrey’s department on Friday last was “an absolute insult to those who were living in hope that our local Minister has heard or understood their plight. - Not so, it seems.”
At last Monday’s meeting of Cavan County Council, Cllr O'Reilly stated that “FG members waxed lyrical about the LIS scheme, bemoaning the fact that 'something needed to be done' and 'Someone has to do something'. They seem to be blissfully or wilfully unaware that it is fully within their gift and the Minister’s remit to actually dosomething and that something can be done - only of course, if the will is there to do it.'
Continuing, Cllr O'Reilly said she has attended many meetings over the last five years where members of council have requested a meeting with Minister Humphreys to discuss this issue and “disappointingly, I have yet to see a reply.”
Cllr O'Reilly, who will step down as Chair of the council next month noted that the LIS should be a function of the Department of Transport, but currently it lies with the Department of Rural Affairs. “Cavan County Council met with Minister [for Transport Eamon] Ryan in December where a strong case for adequate funding for roads in the county was made and also wilfully ignored.
“With this kind of attitude from ministers and the wilful ignorance of others I fear that the LIS, an important scheme for rural communities, is nearing a dead end, a common theme for constituents in rural Ireland,” Cllr O'Reilly concluded.