Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Ceisteanna (115)

Bernard J. Durkan


199 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the total amount of funding available to him in 2004 for the provision of grant aid to urban and rural community groups; the headings under which such sums are likely to be spent; the latest date by which applications should be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3188/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

I refer the Deputy to Question No. 54 of 27 November2003 in which I set out details of the many schemes and initiatives to be operated by my Department to assist rural and urban communities in 2004.

I can inform the Deputy that there is provision of €42.2 million in my Department's Vote for the local development social inclusion programme, LDSIP, to support local development social inclusion measures. Funding is allocated to partnerships-community groups to deliver the local development social inclusion programme under three measures; services for the unemployed, community-based youth initiatives and community development. A new dedicated fund of €4.5 million capital funding is being made available in 2004 to support small-scale localised actions in RAPID areas, through co-funding with the relevant Department or agency. I propose to announce full details of how this money will be spent shortly. Details of the areas covered by LDSIP and RAPID are available on my Department's website

The Leader+ community initiative and the area-based rural development initiative are currently open for applications. Consistent with the bottom-up philosophy of rural development, decision-making with regard to applications for aid under the initiatives is devolved to 35 local action groups and three collective bodies nationwide. Details of application procedures, closing dates, etc., are established by the groups and collective bodies. The total amount of funding available in 2004 is €21.272 million.

Under the CLÁR programme, community groups can avail of assistance under the measures detailed in the following appendix. The closing dates, where applicable, are set by the body administering the scheme. The areas targeted under the CLÁR programme will continue to benefit from assistance in 2004. These areas are parts of counties Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath and all of County Leitrim.

Group Water Scheme and Group Sewerage
CLÁR provides funding to householders in the group schemes by way of limited top up grants. Applicants contact their local authority which administers the schemes. As these schemes are demand led, there is no specific allocation.
Local Improvement Scheme, LIS.
CLÁR funds LIS roads to provide support for better road access to homes in remoter areas. Applicants contact their local authority which administers the scheme. The allocation is determined by the level of investment by the local authority from its county LIS allocation. The 2004 allocations to local authorities have not been made yet by the Department ofthe Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
Village Enhancement Scheme.
CLÁR supports the joint village enhancement scheme operated by the Leader companies and the local authorities covering small-scale infrastructural projects. Applicant villages which also contribute to the scheme should contact their local Leader group. The total funding for the scheme in 2004 is €500,000.
Local Authority Housing Estate
Enhancement Scheme.
CLÁR and the local authorities co-fund a local authority housing estate enhancement scheme with a local contribution per project. The projects are selected by the local authority and the total funding for the scheme in 2003-04 is €600,000.
Bi-lingual Signage Scheme.
CLÁR and Foras na Gaeilge jointly fund a bilingual signage scheme for community projects in villages selected by Leader under the village enhancement scheme. A bilingual townland signage scheme also operates with funding from the local community. As this scheme is demand led, there is no specific allocation.
Top Up Scheme Sports Capital Grants.
CLÁR provides limited top up funding to projects that are selected under the sports capital grants scheme run by the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and recommended for CLÁR support by that Department. The allocation for 2004 will not be finalised until the projects under the 2004 scheme are selected by Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism.
Community Initiatives.
Community based projects attracting less than 50% public funding under Leader may qualify for CLÁR top-up funding subject to the certain conditions. As this scheme is demand led, there is no specific allocation. Applicant villages should contact their local Leader group. The rural development fund also assists community groups nationwide. The 2004 provision is €950,000. Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time throughout the year. My Department operates a range of once-off grant schemes which concentrate on a wide range of support for local self-help groups and community development and on the provision of seed money to enable community groups to pilot initiatives identified as meeting new and emerging community needs.
Community Development.
Grants for Locally Based Community and
Voluntary Groups.
These once off-grant schemes are in respect of: renovation or acquisition of premises; the purchase of equipment or transport; once off publications or research; training and education initiatives for local community and voluntary groups; personal development training designed to tackle poverty and disadvantage and improve family life.
Community Support for Older People.
My Department also has responsibility for the scheme of community support to older people which aims to support initiatives which improve the security and social support of older people. The schemes cover the cost of pendant alarms, security locks and emergency lighting. The above schemes are operated nationally on an annual basis. All regions of the country benefit from the schemes. The extent to which any one region or another will benefit will depend on the number and quality of applications received. The 2004 grant schemes will be advertised in the national press later in the year. Details of the application and assessment process will be provided when the grant schemes are advertised.
White Paper Grants for the Community and
Voluntary Sector.
Under the provisions of the White Paper on supporting the voluntary sector funding is provided under the following schemes: programme for support for national anti-poverty networks; scheme of support for federations, networks and umbrella groups in the community and voluntary sector; scheme for training and supports in the community and voluntary sector; and funding to support volunteering community development programmes. Under this programme, long-term funding is provided to locally-based voluntary and community groups involved in anti-poverty and social inclusion initiatives through the community development programme. Two projects in County Kildare, based in Newbridge and Athy, are currently funded under this programme. A total of €30.6 million has been allocated to these community development schemes in the 2004 Estimates. The precise allocation of funding to the different schemes budgets will be finalised when the revised Estimates are published later this month.
A sum of €33.5 million is available in the current year. The ongoing costs associated with the operations of the national advisory committee on drugs, NACD, and the national drugs strategy team, NDST, together with the continued funding of local drug task force, LDTF, plans and the operation of the young persons facilities and services fund will be met from that sum, as will certain administrative costs in relation to the regional drugs task forces, RDTF. Imposition of closing dates for funding the above programme costs does not generally arise. The local drugs task forces areas are in Dublin, Cork, and Bray as well as Carlow, Waterford, Limerick and Galway.
In 2004, an amount of €21.5 million is available for schemes to benefit communities in Gaeltacht areas, including road improvement, marine works, group water schemes, leisure facilities and cultural initiatives. There is an allocation of €10 million for islands in 2004. This funding is being made available in order to provide essential transport services for island communities and to improve the infrastructure of the islands. The Department will also provide funding of €32 million to Údarás na Gaeltachta to assist in developing industries, services and employment opportunities, in addition to fostering and strengthening the Irish language, in the Gaeltacht.
My Department has also allocated €688,000 to the INTERREG Ireland-Wales and Ireland-Northern Ireland programmes in 2004 and €1.5 million to the PEACE II programme. The relevant counties are Sligo, Monaghan, Leitrim, Louth, Donegal and Cavan. Calls for application for both programmes are advertised in the national press. PEACE II — priority 5, measure 6b — is currently open for applications with a closing date for receipt of applications of the 13 February 2004. There is an amount of €10.615 million provided for the programme for peace and reconciliation. This is aimed at addressing the legacy of conflict and taking opportunities arising from peace by developing measures which focus, from this Departments' perspective, on economic renewal, social integration, inclusion and reconciliation and cross-Border co-operation. The programme operates in Northern Ireland and the Border region of Ireland, Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo, and is managed by ADM-CPA on behalf of the Department. Details of opening-closing dates for applications can be found