Peter Burke TD and Cllrs Tom Farrell, Gerard Farrell, Paul Ross and Colm Murray.
€232,000 in funding has been secured for Local Improvement Schemes in Longford.
The funding will allow for the repair and improvement of small roads and laneways leading to local people’s homes and businesses that are not under the normal maintenance of the Local Authorities.
Funding of €514,000 in total has been allocated to the Longford/Westmeath constituency, with Westmeath receiving €282,000.
Minister of State for the OPW and Longford/Westmeath TD, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said; "The relaunch of the Local Improvement Scheme is an important step in the Government's drive to support rural Ireland. I know how important this scheme is for people who live in rural areas – and often in very remote rural areas. 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 all over the country."
Minister Moran added, "I have been pressing very hard on the restoration of this key scheme since being elected and I am delighted with today’s news. The commitment was given in the programme for Government and is intended to be a clear beneficiary of ongoing economic recovery.”
Fine Gael Deputy Peter Burke said: “I am delighted to announce that €232,000 funding has been secured for Local Improvement Schemes in Longford.
“I have been in constant communication with my Ministerial colleagues on the importance of the Local Improvement Scheme for people who live in rural Ireland. Since my election, the eight Fine Gael Councillors in Longford have been in constant contact with me in relation to the importance of the LIS in Longford. I have raised it with Minister Ross, and Minister Ring more recently and have stressed the benefits it would have for Longford in particular.
“The Government hasn’t been in a position to adequately fund the LIS scheme for the last number of years, but we made a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government that we would reinstate the scheme.
“I am delighted to now be in a positon to honour that commitment. The scheme will be funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and will be delivered through the Local Authority.
“For people who live in rural areas like Longford and the towns and villages around it, road connectivity is hugely important.
“The ability of people to access their own premises, a farmyard or a neighbour's house is compromised when roads are in a bad state of repair. For emergency services, too, bad road surfaces can lead to delays in accessing sites and can damage their vehicles.
“An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar along with Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring have announced the Government is providing a total of €10 million to fund this scheme across the country.
“This will be combined with a small contribution from householders (10-15% of total costs) and Local Authorities, and will allow for the maintenance and improvement of many local roads all over Ireland.
“The re-introduction of the LIS is an important part of the delivery of the Government's Action Plan for Rural Development. One of the Pillars of the Action Plan focuses on improving rural infrastructure and connectivity.
“The Government's vision for rural Ireland is very simple when it comes down to it – We want rural Ireland to be a better place in which to live and work by creating new opportunities, improving connectivity between rural and urban areas, and by protecting and enhancing services in the community.
“We want to offer the opportunity for young people to have access to good-quality jobs so that they can continue to live in rural Ireland if they so choose. And the Action Plan for Rural Development provides the framework to achieve this.”