Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has welcomed the decision of Minister Michael Ring to re-introduce the Local Improvement Scheme for the first time since 2011 reversing the previous decision of Fine Gael to effectively abolished it when they stopped making any allocation to local authorities to carry out work on lanes.
‘The letter sent to Chief Executives of County Councils throughout the country on the 24th August 2017 indicates that the Minister intends to make an allocation to Councils this year. It demands a response from Council by the 14th September setting out details of roads which could be completed, that there is a local contribution in place and that the work can be completed by the end of 2017. Whilst the restoration of the Scheme is welcome, the turn around time on the letter is a very clear indication that the Minister and his Department are somewhat out of touch with reality given that the opportunity to carry out work on roads in the autumn and winter is minimal. An announcement such as this should be made in the early part of the year to allow for proper planning by the local authority and the completion of quality work’
‘We have argued for the re-introductions of the Local Improvement Scheme for the last number of years. Consistently, the Fine Gael Councillors have defended the removal of funding and sought to divert funding from the already deteriorating local and regional roads. At least this circular from the Department lays bear any semblance of credibility that the Fine Gael Councillors have on this matter. Deputy Brendan Smith and Eamon O Cuiv have fought this in the Dail since the last election very strongly. I hope that the Government will now ensure that the Scheme is in place each year into the future.’
‘There are about two hundred applications on hand in Cavan as it stands, many others have held off lodging applications given the failure of the Government to provide funding. A consistent level of funding is needed into the future for the LIS
Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has warmly welcomed the recommendation of the Constituencies Commission to reunite County Cavan in future elections to Dail Eireann. This follows a long-running campaign by the people of County Cavan seeking the reunification of the county in national elections.
“I warmly welcomed the decision of the Constituencies Commission and want to thank its Chairman, Judge Robert Haughton and his colleagues for listening to the thousands of submissions made by people and organisations in County Cavan to have our county reunited for the Dáil Elections. The travesty, that was the division of County Cavan, particularly taking away the most disadvantaged and already disenfranchised part of the county and putting it into a constituency along with Sligo, Leitrim and part of Donegal areas with which many people felt little in common has at long last been reversed. I trust that the Oireachtas will now do their duty and implement the recommendations of this Commission as a matter of urgency and ensure that the results of Census 2016 are the basis for future Dáil Elections.’
‘Given the current political uncertainties, and the likelihood of an early general election it is incumbent on the relevant Minister, Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to bring forward the legislation without further delay.”
“I want to thank the many people who took time to make submissions to the Constituencies Commission and indeed the many organisations who did so also. This was not a party political issue it was about the overall good of the county and all its parts. I wish to thank in particular Brendan Smith TD who spearheaded a campaign which secured almost 5,000 signatures on a petition from throughout the County and also the role of the *Anglo Celt* who with his editor Linda O’Reilly played a pivotal role in this campaign ensuring that it was seen for what it was, a cross-party campaign to ensure justice for County Cavan in Dáil elections.”
“As a councillor, I wish to acknowledge the work of Eoin Doyle, Director of Services and in particular, Dr. Emer Coveney in assisting the elected members in preparing a detailed and comprehensive submission agreed on a cross-party basis setting out the case for the reunification of our county.”
“This is a great day for our county, I know from a Party point of view and indeed from the part of the community in which I live people are delighted that they will now be in a position to vote for people to represent them in Dáil Éireann whom they know, with whom they have worked and who have worked on their behalf in the past and in the case of Deputy Brendan Smith even after West Cavan had been removed from Cavan Monaghan constituency.”
‘CLÁR funding no longer targeted to most disadvantaged rural communities’ -Feeley
Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley, whilst welcoming the allocations made under the CLÁR Scheme, noted the huge disparity in the allocation between counties Cavan and Monaghan and also the fact that the projects chosen, not in accordance with the priority list as forwarded to the Department of Rural Affairs by Cavan County Council were all focused in one part of County Cavan which according to the statistics in the 2016 and indeed previous Census are not the most economically and socially disadvantaged communities in County Cavan.
“When the then Fianna Fáil government introduced the concept of the CLÁR scheme, under the then Minister Eamon Ó Cuiv, TD the purpose and intent of that scheme was to redress the traditional imbalance in investment by various government agencies which obviously focus limited resources on areas with a higher population density and frontload investment in the most disadvantaged rural communities. The designation of these areas was done on the basis of those areas which had the greatest percentage fall in population since the Famine. When you consider the census returns of 2016 you will see, in County Cavan that the areas of greatest economic disadvantage remain those in the west of the county yet only two relatively small allocations were made to this part of the county whilst the bulk of the allocations were focused in one particular area of County Cavan and in part of County Monaghan.”
“I have no doubt that the individual projects funded are worthy and will bring great benefits to the communities involved but it would be fair to say that they do not represent the most disadvantaged communities in our county. Furthermore they do not represent the scheme of priorities as lodged by Cavan County Council at the request of the Department who this year asked the local authorities to vet applications and prioritise them. There is very little point in already hard pressed local authority officials dedicating fast amounts of time to working with local communities to develop applications in areas of acute social and economic disadvantage and assessing these applications on behalf of the Department if their work is to be set aside for whatever reason.”
“Furthermore it was hard to believe that details of the allocations could appear on social media and indeed in the local press almost 24 hours before the local authority, which had presented the applications to the Department were notified of the decision of the Minister.”
“It was reluctantly, and only as a condition of the confidence and supply agreement entered into when this government was formed that Fine Gael agreed to reverse the decision of the previous Fine Gael-led government to abolish the CLÁR programme. It is sad to see that scheme used for purposes for which it was never intended and it is a clear demonstration of the total lack of understanding of rural communities and a complete lack of desire to address the fundamental underlying problems in rural communities that these limited and valuable resources have not been targeted at worthy schemes in the most disadvantaged of communities.”
“I have worked closely with two schemes in particular namely; Corlough Development Association and Milltown National School in Drumlane in recent times and these schemes were rated very highly by Cavan County Council who could see very clearly the merits of the scheme and the effort of the communities involved. Both communities and indeed many others are disappointed with the manner in which the allocations have been made under the CLÁR programme of 2017. The others in West Cavan were disappointed with the level of funding provided when compared with other schemes. One can only hope that a new minister with responsibility for rural affairs will ensure that these funds are allocated in a more appropriate manner in coming years.
14th June 2017
Contact: (087) 698 9304
Curravagh National School secures CLÁR funding
Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has welcomed the allocation of funding under Measure 2 of the CLÁR program which will improve car parking facilities, footpaths and access to Curravagh National School, Glangevlin.
“This school is one of the smallest national schools in the county and has been severely affected by the decline in rural population. Nonetheless, Tara McGovern and her staff provide a top-class learning environment for the children attending. Over eight years ago substantial funding was secured to overhaul the school building and put in place facilities which should see the school in good stead for many years to come. The additional funding of approximately €15,000 will improve safety for staff and children alike along the Glangevlin to Dowra Road. Additional parking, better sightlines and new footpaths will be installed with this welcome allocation under the claw program.’
Councillor Feeley noted that assisting in the provision of infrastructure in communities such as Glangevlin and Curravagh National School such as of our was precisely what was intended by the then Minister for Rural Affairs Eamon Ō Cuiv, TD when he introduced the CLÁR initially. Councillor Feeley continued that unfortunately the focus of the CLÁR program has now been moved very far from its initial intent and communities such as those in Glangevlin and West Cavan are going to suffer the consequence of the decision of this Fine Gael Government.
14th June 2017
Contact: (087) 698 9304