Dáil Éireann - Volume 569 - 25 June, 2003

Written Answers. - Community and Rural Development.

  290. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of applications for grant assistance received by his Department in respect of community and rural developments in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18109/03]

  Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): The Deputy will be aware from replies given on foot of previous questions that my Department and the bodies under its aegis are responsible for a wide number of schemes operated for the benefit of both urban and rural communities across the country. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that under the local development social inclusion programme, which is administered by ADM Limited, funding of some €698,451 was provided to the action south Kildare community group in 2002. A further €626,616 has been allocated to action south Kildare under this programme in 2003. My Department also provides core funding to a community development project in Athy, County Kildare under the community development programme; €73,744 was provided to this project in 2003 and a further €20,000 has already been provided in support in 2003. I have also recently announced my intention to provide core funding to a community development project in Newbridge, County Kildare, funding in the sum of €60,000 to be made available from September 2003 on a one year renewable contract basis.

  The Deputy will be aware from material provided on foot of my response to Parliamentary Question No. 24 of 26 March 2003 that my Department received five applications from groups in County Kildare under the CAIT II scheme. In 2002 it received 12 applications under the funding scheme for training and supports in the community and voluntary sector. The assessment of applications under this scheme is at an advanced stage and it is now expected that this process will be completed by the end of July.

  An application was received from the Kildare Traveller network to join the community development support programmes in August 2001. In light of the prior commitment of funding under this programme to groups that had already [965] submitted a development plan and the tighter budgetary position currently pertaining, it has not been possible to progress this group's application further at this stage.

  Under the Ireland-Wales INTERREG III programme, one application has been received from County Kildare under the rural development and diversification measure. The project concerns the sustainable management of forest insect pests and will be considered at the next INTERREG steering committee meeting.

  My Department is also responsible for the operation of a scheme of once-off grants which benefit voluntary and community groups who focus on tackling poverty and disadvantage and work from community development principles. Some €2.4 million has been provided this year to operate the scheme, which is being advertised in the national and local media this week. Under the scheme, funding will be available for training, education or research initiatives aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of local communities and voluntary groups. Grants will also be available for the purchase of equipment or transport and premises related costs. Voluntary and community groups nationwide will be entitled to apply.

  Kildare European Leader II Teoranta operates the Leader+ programme and national rural development programme in County Kildare. A budget of €5.115 million has been allocated for the implementation of these programmes and grant applications for funding under these programmes are made directly to the Leader group. In accordance with the bottom-up philosophy of rural development, the local Leader group is the decision-making authority in relation to approving actions falling within its business plan. The approval of grants by groups is made within detailed operating rules drawn up by the Department and approved by the EU Commission. There is particular emphasis on community development in the programme and each of the groups is obliged to implement a programme in its area to encourage, support and facilitate the process of rural development, especially at community level.