Rural development funding review ‘delays projects and threatens jobs’

Rural development funding of €120m is not reaching approved projects, says South East Cork Area Development chief executive Ryan Howard.

SECAD is one of many rural groups informed by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government that transfer of its funding has been suspended pending review.

Mr Howard said the review, which was to take one or two weeks, is now ongoing over three months. More than €60m worth of projects have been approved by Leader companies; most projects are linked to enterprise stimulation, start-up funding and job creation schemes.

“SECAD has project applications in excess of €6m from new and existing projects, and while many of these have been approved by our board, we can’t provide the funding which is vital to the region in terms of employment, job creation and community development,” said Mr Howard. Projects across South and East Cork, including micro enterprises, the Carrigaline and Midleton youth facilities, extension of Douglas Community Centre, Cobh Museum renovation and greenway projects on both sides of the harbour are affected, he said.

In the past year, 1,644 enterprises have been funded by local development companies, creating thousands of jobs. These jobs are now under threat, Mr Howard said.

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