Tuesday, 29 June 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
611. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will consider increasing the funding for the local improvement scheme to help meet the demands; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34299/21]
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.
There was no funding for the Local Improvement Scheme for a number of years until it was relaunched in 2017. Since then, over €68 million has been allocated to deliver the scheme on over 2,400 roads. The Scheme has benefited over 10,000 residents and landowners.
I announced funding of €10.5 million in May under the 2021 Scheme. This represented a 5% increase on the previous year and saw an increase in each local authority's allocation.
I can confirm that I am actively exploring the potential to allocate further funding for the scheme in 2021 should the budgetary position allow. I would again urge each Local Authority to utilise the funding already announced for this year to complete the repair works on selected roads at an early date. This would enable authorities to upgrade additional roads before year end should further funding become available