Inishowen’s Fianna Fail representatives have condemned the withdrawal of funding for the Community Involvement Scheme under the 2015 Regional and Local Road Grant Allocations.
The scheme assists members of the local community to work with Donegal County Council in order to carry out essential works to local roads and has previously been employed across various areas on the Peninsula.
In a joint statement, Deputy Charlie McConalougue and Councillors Paul Canning, Rena Donaghey and Martin McDermott have expressed their shock that no provisions have been made under the 2015 allocation in order to continue the scheme.
Speaking following the revelation Deputy McConalogue commented: “Since the 2015 Local Road allocations have been announced we have heard government representatives lauding over the allocation given to Donegal. However like many other government announcements it appears that the devil is in the detail.
“The Community Involvement Scheme allowed local communities to take action to address road problems alongside the council. Without the scheme there is no avenue for funding and therefore many roads will become neglected.”
Councillor Martin McDermott re-iterated Deputy McConalogue’s point regarding the schemes importance to the local community.
He said: “The removal of this scheme is yet another attack on the rural communities of Inishowen. Since being elected I have worked with local communities via the community scheme to secure funding for problem roads across the peninsula. Without this scheme these roads would simply have been neglected. The scheme must remain in place.”
Councillor Rena Donaghey cited the widening of Mamore Gap as a case where the Community Involvement Scheme was successfully put to use.
She said: “The widening of Mamore Gap garnered national attention as a success story as to how local communities can work with the council to resolve road issues. The widening project simply would not have happened without the support of the Community Involvement Scheme. It was highly beneficial for the local community and helped strengthen Mamore as a major tourist attraction in Inishowen. This is just one of the countless examples where this scheme was of enormous benefit to local communities.”
Councillor Paul Canning described the scheme as essential for local communities across Inishowen.
He said: “Without the scheme many parts of the local road network around the Inishowen peninsula would be impassable. Many residents from across the area have contacted me to express their concerns regarding the withdrawal of this funding. This scheme is essential to the Inishowen community and it must be adequately funded.
Deputy McConalogue concluded; “It is clear that this scheme needs immediate funding. My colleagues and I are calling on the Minister for Transport to urgently address this shortfall in funding for the Community Involvement Scheme. The government has continually failed to invest in major infrastructure in Co Donegal and have consistently targeted rural communities for savings. If this scheme is removed it will be another blow for Inishowen. We will continue to work to oppose this cutback.”