Ireland ‘risks losing €100m funding’

Ireland could lose €100m in community funding if the EU withholds a new bonus, according to the CEO of a rural development company.

Under a new measure introduced to give financial autonomy to community groups, future EU payments will incorporate a 10% bonus for governments who surrender financial control of local development funds to community-led groups.

“The European Commission tends to be very measured in what it says,” said Maura Walsh, chief executive of IRD Duhallow in Co Cork.

“It will have rigorous, transparent checks on what constitutes local community control of funds. Of Ireland’s total funding, about €1bn will come under this new 10% bonus measure. That would see Ireland losing €100m.

“We will need much more than just a token person on a national committee to hold onto this bonus.”

The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN), the umbrella body for companies benefiting from the Leader rural development fund including IRD Duhallow, is opposed to the new socio-economic committees (SEC) which are being put in place by the Government. It says the SECs will take financial autonomy away from local communities.

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