Minister confirmed additional €10 million for Local Improvement Scheme in 2018 but more needed

FullSizeRender(1)Smyth calls on Minister to increase funding to LIS for 10 years in effort to clear backlog

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth TD has called on the Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring to increase funding for the local improvement scheme.
“The scheme was re-introduced in 2017 after being discontinued for 10 years. The scheme provides financial support for works on private and non-public roads to improve access for people who live or work along these roads.  Following numerous calls by my colleagues and myself on the opposition benches, the scheme was reopened late last year. €10 million was allocated and following additional calls by me and others, an additional €7.4 million at the end of November,” said Smyth.
“After this scheme was re-introduced, I had hundreds of calls to both my Monaghan and Cavan offices. These calls came predominately from people who had been on the LIS waiting list in some cases for over a decade. Some were concerned that home help providers would discontinue home support due to access issues because of the poor condition of private lanes. Others were concerned that school transport might stop as a result of potholes and dis-repair on rural roads. One lady told me that her elderly husband enjoyed a walk down his lane everyday but that it had become unsafe for him to do this due to the condition of their private lane. In all these cases I contacted the council.”
Deputy Smyth concluded, “There were others who wanted to know where they were on the list and if they could get some of the €10 million. The truth of the matter is, there are hundreds of LIS applications lying in council offices. Many are at varying stages and because money was cut for this scheme, applications which were put in over the years, were stacked and never processed as the scheme was closed. The mammoth task facing council personnel now is sifting through these applications, contacting people to see does their application still stand. Also many which were quoted and designs drawn up, will have to be updated as costings etc would have changed over the years. That is why I am calling on the Minister to increase funding for the Local Improvement Scheme in an effort to clear that backlog of applications and to ensure that his scheme is never discontinued again. Too often rural Ireland get the blunt of cuts that the cessation of this scheme has had a profound impact on our rural road network and the people utilising them daily.”