Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
5. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if it is planned to provide a second tranche of funding for LIS roads in 2021; the discussions she has had with the Department of Transport in relation to possible co-funding of this programme by that Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27880/21]
The focus of the Local Improvement Scheme is to support the continued improvement of rural roads and laneways that are not normally maintained by local authorities but which represent a vital piece of infrastructure for rural residents. The scheme is funded by my Department and is administered through the Local Authorities.
As part of “Our Rural Future”, the Government committed to ensuring that the Local Improvement Scheme is funded into the future.
I launched the 2021 Local Improvement Scheme on May 14thwith funding of €10.5 million. This represents a 5% increase in funding compared to last year. The funding will improve access to rural homes and farms, as well as outdoor amenities such as lakes, rivers, mountains and beaches.
Over €68 million has now been invested under the Local Improvement Scheme since it was re-introduced in 2017. Close to 2,400 roads have been funded for repair works. This has made a real difference to the lives of over 10,000 landowners and residents in rural Ireland.
As I noted when I launched the 2021 Scheme, I am working to identify if additional funding can be provided for the Local Improvement Scheme in 2021 as it is clear that there is a continuing demand for this funding in rural communities across Ireland. I am also in ongoing discussions with my colleague, Eamon Ryan T.D. Minister for Transport in this regard.
Finally, and in advance of any additional funding, I would urge each Local Authority to utilise the funding already announced and complete the repair works on the selected roads as soon as possible.