North Cork Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea has welcomed the announcement of €900,000 in Local Improvement Schemes (LIS) funding for County Cork, as confirmed by his colleague, Minister Michael Ring TD, this week.
Nationally, more than €10 million has been made available in a new round of funding for LIS around the country. This funding will support the continued improvement of non-public rural roads that enable people to access their homes and farms.
Cllr. O’Shea said the scheme ‘continues to be a lifeline for people living in rural areas because it directly improves their access to and from their homes and farms’. He added: “It’s important to remember that many people living in rural areas use these roads every day, so when these roads fall into disrepair, it has a significant impact on them. By investing in the improvement of these roads we are helping to improve people’s quality of life in rural areas.
“I welcome the allocation of €900,000 to County Cork, which is almost 10% of the total funding nationally. The upkeep of rural roads is a priority for people who live in rural Ireland and this funding, in conjunction with the local community’s own resources and the resources of the Local Authorities, will allow for the maintenance and improvement of many local roads in rural areas.
“This scheme was reintroduced by my colleague, Minister Michael Ring TD, in 2017 and has proven to be a great success. I look forward to seeing this funding put to good use across Cork and especially across North Cork,” he said.
According to Minister Ring: “I am conscious of the high cost of repairing some of the more remote rural roads and the impact this can have on the contribution which people living and farming along those roads can be asked to make. As part of the scheme in 2019 I am placing a cap of €1,200 on the amount that any individual householder or landowner will be asked to contribute towards the cost of repairs.
“This small but important change to the scheme will, I hope, facilitate the improvement of some of the more remote and sparsely populated roads in rural parts of the country. I cannot overstate how important local connectivity is in order to enable rural Ireland to function well. The Action Plan for Rural Development prioritises the improvement of rural infrastructure and connectivity and continuing to support and develop a LIS scheme is just one of the measures we are taking in that regard.”
The new round of funding will be released in two tranches. Local authorities will be notified of their overall indicative allocation with 50% of the funding being made available once they have certified completion of projects approved under the October 2018 announcement and completion of 50% of the first phase of the 2019 scheme.
The balance will be made available at a later stage following completion of this next phase of projects. This will also allow for a possible redistribution of some of the funding, if necessary, depending on Local Authority performance with regard to the October 2018 announcement and the first phase of the 2019 scheme.