SINN Féin Councillor and General Election candidate for Cork South West, Rachel McCarthy has described the news of cuts to the Leader programme as a ‘nightmare for rural Cork’.
Cllr McCarthy was responding to the funds announced by Ministers Alan Kelly and Ann Phelan in which Leader funding for Co Cork was reduced from €49.2m (2007-2013) to €13.9m.
Cllr McCarthy said it was ‘beyond belief that government representatives are out in the media selling this as a positive development’.
‘Rural Cork will be absolutely devastated by the impact that this will have on local development companies throughout the region,’ she added.
‘This move completely undermines local development strategies and will see many vital local development programmes struggling to survive. I am sure that many local development companies themselves will now find it hard to keep the doors open. These organisations are crucial to fostering employment, enterprise and social inclusion initiatives throughout rural Ireland,’ the SF Cllr said.
‘All of this important community-led work is now in danger of being destroyed. Government TDs are saying that the allocations represent a commitment to rural Ireland. What planet are they living on? It is a frightening scale-back in investment. I wonder is the government now engaging in the managed decline of rural Ireland. The reality is that these cuts are disastrous for rural villages and towns throughout CoCork.’