26 Jun 2022

Offaly TD says councils must be given freedom to spend much needed funding

'Local authorities hoarding money assigned to specific projects'

Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, has called on Minister Michael Ring to put measures in place to ensure that local authorities are spending money allocated to them under the CLÁR and Town & Village Renewal Schemes.

New figures provided to Fianna Fáil reveal massive gaps in the amount of money allocated to councils under these schemes, and the amount of money that has been spent on these projects.

Deputy Cowen commented, “New information obtained by my party has demonstrated that only 55% of the money allocated nationally has been spent to date."

“In Offaly, €380,000 was allocated for projects under the Town & Village Renewal Scheme and only €37,521 has been spent. Offaly County Council also secured €123,398 under the CLÁR scheme in 2016 but only €84,357 has gone towards these projects to date," Cowen revealed.

“I understand that one of the primary reasons for the underspend in Offaly to date was due to the undertaking of a public consultation process. This is a necessary step to take but it would appear that the council could do with additional assistance in ensuring that these consultations are carried out in a comprehensive and timely manner. There is a feeling that the current system is too cumbersome and this is preventing the delivery of much needed funding for various projects across the county," he continued.

“Minister Ring must ensure that councils are enabled to spend the funding that has been allocated to them. He must also assure us that the funding will not be withdrawn in cases where it has not been spent on time, especially when the reason for this underspend is as a result of the need to carry out a consultation process.”

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