Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Farm Roads.

13.

asked the Minister for the Environment if money has been made available by the EEC for the repair and construction of access roads to farms.

The programme of measures approved by the EEC for implementation under the western package includes aid for the improvement of farm roads, amounting to approximately £780,000 per annum over a ten-year period commencing in 1981.

Will the money be allocated through the Minister's Department?

Yes. There are two sources of funds and they will be issued through the Department.

Can the Minister give an assurance that there will be no reduction in the percentage of the cost? In other words, if the original scheme indicated that 60 or 70 per cent of the cost would be paid, can the Minister give us an assurance that so far as he is concerned there will be no reduction in that percentage?

I am not sure about the way in which the funds are allocated, but so far as I know there will be fixed amounts to each of a number of counties. I do not think that these amounts relate to the cost of the work being done.

Who will administer the scheme?

We will administer it, but applications for moneys under the scheme will be made by each of the local authorities concerned. The counties included are Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Monaghan, Longford, Cavan, Roscommon, Clare, and parts of west Cork and of west Limerick.

How would an individual farmer go about applying for benefit under the scheme?

I do not think that an individual farmer would apply to have a private road improved. The road involved would be a public road but one leading to his farm and he and perhaps his neighbours would apply to the local authority to have that road included in the scheme.

What is the difference between this scheme and the Local Improvement Scheme?

This scheme is geared purely towards roads serving the farming sector. The scheme is aided by FEOGA funds.

Are application forms available for this scheme and, if so, from whom?

They are available from the local authorities.

There is a mix-up there somewhere.

We are not talking about quite the same thing.

Will farmers in County Dublin be in a position to apply for benefit under this scheme? I am sure Deputy McMahon will agree that many farmers in County Dublin could do with this sort of help.

This scheme is part of the western development package and since Dublin farmers are not included in the west, yet anyway, farmers in County Dublin will not be eligible for benefit under the scheme.