State bureaucracy is choking projects claim Leader officials
Rural development projects are being choked by bureaucracy, Leader company officers have claimed.
And they have also taken issue with Minister for Community and Rural Development Michael Ring for what they claim was his misrepresentation of Leader administration and project expenditure figures outlined in the Dáil last week.
The figures show that €19m has been spent to date by the country's Leader Local Action Groups on administration compared to €6m on project expenditure under the 2014-2020 programme.
Commenting on the figures, Minister Ring said the gap between administrative spending and project expenditure was "amazing."
"If Leader programmes are not drawing down funding, I can see if the money should be redirected to other companies that are spending the money," he said.
Leader company officials, however, claim the figures don't represent the progress being made on projects as money invested in projects is not counted as expenditure until projects are completed.
Maura Walshe, CEO of IRD Duhallow, a Leader company in North Cork, described the Minister's response as misinformed: "It's either that or his civil servants should explain to him in clearer terms how the Leader programme works.
"He should know that the administration costs in every Leader company are capped at 25pc, we cannot go above that," she said.