FUNDING for the Kildare LEADER partnership, which grant aids hundreds of community and private projects in rural areas, has been cut by 13%.
A number of applications for funds, including a project to put overhead cables underground in Celbridge, have been rejected.
Last week Kildare North TDs Emmet Stagg and Bernard Durkan said they have asked the Minister for the Environment to re-examine this Celbridge file.
Mary Kane, a spokesperson for Kildare LEADER said the team processes around 150 applications from projects at any one time.
Successful ones. which are selected, get State funding from the €12m Kildare fund which was allocated at the start of the current 2007-13 programme, but has now been cut.
Likewise, the national fund has been cut by 13% to €370m
Ms. Kane said LEADER has had to prioritise projects, which is difficult as the six person team has been working with some groups over a period of two to three years.
“The cut came as a surprise,” she said, and LEADER now HAS to review its plans. “We are trying out best to be fair,” she said.
Applicants must provide some of their own money to match the LEADER grant.
Ms. Kane said matching was a problem when the economic crisis hit in 2008 but in the last year or so, more group were more confident in providing their own funds.
Last December, the Department lifted an embargo on allocations and the Kildare fund sought applications.
They have around 400 applications on their list.
- Henry Bauress