Clare TD Timmy Dooley has criticised the Government for “unnecessary changes to the LEADER programme”, which he says is underming the sizeable amount of voluntary effort that is involved.
“The vast majority of people involved with LEADER companies in Clare and throughout the country have expressed their opposition to Government changes to the programme, which they feel is undermining the considerable community effort involved. For instance, by publishing the expenses and salaries of those
employed in LEADER companies, it suggests that the administrative costs are out of kilter with the work that is being done,” the Fianna Fáil deputy said.
Deputy Dooley claimed the change of Government policy towards LEADER companies fails to take account of the huge voluntary effort in communities throughout Clare. “In fact, in comparison with every other state entity, the benefit to the local communities far outweighs the costs. The hard work that is done by everyone involved in LEADER companies is being undermined by the Government, there was no need to change how the funding is distributed and who distributes it. There was and is no desire in communities to have the funding and administrative system altered, he said.
Deputy Doley noted that in Clare alone, 722 enterprises have been supported in the last five years; 517 jobs have been created, 1,657 people have been trained and 119 communities have been supported.
“The invaluable work done by enterprises like Clare Local Development Company cannot be quantified and it is regrettable this work has been needlessly undermined,” he said.