My Department has made significant investment into communities and rural areas throughout Ireland since 2017 through the schemes referred to by the Deputy.
In general, the level of allocations and expenditure under these schemes has increased year on year, and I am satisfied that good progress is being made in the delivery of projects across these programmes.
In many cases, projects funded under the programmes in question can take 12 to 18 months to complete and payments are made only when significant milestones are met. In some instances, projects must be fully completed before payments will be made.
I monitor expenditure on all my Department's programmes on an on-going basis to ensure that my Department's budget is used as effectively as possible.
My Department's overall budget for 2018 was €238.5 million and expenditure was €238.8 million. This represents a spend of 99.3% of the available allocation. The shortfall related mostly to administrative savings within my Department's Vote.