Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Brian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
Question 486: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government about the long delay in enabling community and voluntary groups and enterprises to draw down their awarded grants which is causing hardship to those groups and individuals; if he has made a decision or when he is going to make a decision as to the mechanism to be used to administer the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 and the Local and Community Development Programme in the areas previously covered by Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta; if these groups and individuals will be reimbursed for interest charges incurred as a result of the delay; if he will provide a breakdown of the funding allocated to each of the affected areas under the Rural Development Programme, including grants paid to date, grants allocated but awaiting draw down, and the balance of funding to be allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9994/12]
Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta (MFG), the group contracted by my Department to deliver Axes 3 & 4 (LEADER) of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP) in Gaeltacht Areas, went into liquidation on 7 September 2011. MFG received an overall RDP allocation of €17,278,809 which covered all the Gaeltacht areas under the remit of the groups. The table below details by County, the current project expenditure position for RDP funding to Gaeltacht areas.
The group is the subject of an ongoing ‘winding up’ process, and, in this context, the final figures with regard to the number of outstanding payments due are not yet fully clarified. My Department is aware of the level of funding committed at various different stages of project life cycles but a series of administrative and financial checks will have to be carried out before payment numbers and amounts can be finalised.
Significant progress is being made in dealing with the issue of determining an alternative delivery mechanism for RDP funding in Gaeltacht areas; all relevant RDP (LEADER) project files have been released by the liquidator and are now my Department. All project promoters will be contacted shortly.
While no final solution has been reached with regard to the delivery of Axes 3 & 4 (LEADER) of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) in Gaeltacht Areas a potential solution has been identified. My Department will begin a consultation process with the relevant stakeholders shortly. My intention is that any alternative delivery mechanism will be efficient and effective and applied at the earliest possible opportunity. All relevant stakeholders will be informed as soon as an appropriate solution is finalised.