Since I introduced funding for Outdoor Recreation infrastructure developments in 2016, I have approved almost 600 projects for funding of over €41 million. This funding has gone to walkways, blueways, greenways, trails and other outdoor infrastructure projects around the country.
In 2016, Leitrim County Council received €401,354 in funding for 3 projects under the Outdoor Recreation Scheme, which included €135,000 for the "Sligo Leitrim Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR)" project and €190,000 for the "Cavan and Leitrim Railway Greenway Pilot Project". It is now more than two years since this funding was provided to the Local Authority.
In September 2018, I wrote to all Local Authorities, requesting them to complete and close off projects funded under 2016 Outdoor Recreation Scheme, and other 2016 schemes.
My officials reviewed the position with regard to the close-off of the 2016 schemes recently and noted significant levels of underspend on projects. I instructed my officials to write to each relevant Local Authority advising them that the unspent 2016 funding would be offset against future payments to the Authorities.
A letter regarding unspent funding issued to Leitrim Co. Council on the 25th April this year and noted a total underspend of €268,196 with respect to the SLNCR and Cavan and Leitrim Railway Greenway Pilot projects.
I understand that the County Council has subsequently been in contact with my Department and has submitted a written case outlining the circumstances relating to the delay in the completion of these particular projects. This submission is under consideration at the moment and my officials will revert to the Local Authority in due course.