'Some people believe rural Ireland is all about making jam - it's not'
My week... Maura Walsh, Castleisland, Co Kerry - chief executive, Dulhallow Leader
Published 07/10/2015 | 02:30
It's been a hectic few weeks for Maura Walshe, the veteran campaigner for rural Ireland and a bête noir of successive Ministers for Agriculture when it comes to getting every available Exchequer and EU funded euro back to the countryside.
She was just back from a rural renewal conference in Canada two weeks ago when she had to fetch up at the 'Go Kerry' tent at the Ploughing before spending most of last week campaigning against the latest cutbacks in EU rural funding.
"It would be wrong to say I am impressed with what's going on with rural funding at the moment. It has been slashed in half but I am not going to be churlish and not thank the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, for the €30m of rural renewal funds.
"But it will go nowhere near making up for the planned cutbacks in funding between now and 2020'', she says.
She then does the maths. Yes, €30m is a big wad of money but it is spread over six years and has to be divided by 30 to cater for the number rural development companies entitled to a share.
"That's an awful lot of division and when all the division is done it certainly doesn't look like a big wad of money'', she says in the fashion of someone who knows how far an Exchequer or EU euro will go.
"Put it this way - Duhallow alone received €10.5m under the last EU rural development programme and will only receive €2m in the soon to be finalised round of rural funding up to 2020.
The rural programme run by the EU and government lacks joined-up-thinking she says.