I assure Deputy Ó Cuív that the islands outside the Gaeltacht islands are of huge importance to me. My Department’s local and community development programme, LCDP, concluded on 31 March 2015 and the new social inclusion and community activation programme, SICAP, was rolled out across communities on 1 April 2015.
During 2014, €527,000 was provided to Comhar na nOileán, the local development company for the islands, for the delivery of the LCDP to offshore islands. As the Deputy will be aware, SICAP was subject to a public procurement process and Comhar na nOileán did not win funding under the SICAP procurement process similar to the funding it received under the LCDP.
We recognise the status of island communities and a revised scheme to support the non-Gaeltacht islands has been agreed between my Department and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. For the avoidance of doubt, this is a new scheme and does not involve the transfer of responsibility of any function from my Department. I am advised that the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will now commence an engagement process with island communities in respect of this new scheme.
Funding of €516,463 is being provided to island communities for community development purposes in 2015. This includes €460,481 directly to Comhar na nOileán, €268,958 of which will be disbursed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under a new scheme, and €55,982 directly to islands under SICAP in respect of the Mayo and Cork islands. This amount does not take account of funding to other inhabited islands under the Galway county SICAP lot, the north Kerry SICAP lot and the Donegal Gaeltacht SICAP lot. Any additional funding for the new islands scheme will be a matter for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to address as the lead Department for islands. To help inform himself about the situation, the Deputy could put a parliamentary question to the Minister of State, Deputy McHugh.