Farmers set to benefit from €10 million funding boost for rural roads

A funding boost of €10 million for the improvement of non-public or private roads in rural Ireland has just been announced.

The newest round of the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) was launched by: An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar; the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring; and the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran.

Generally, these private/non-public roads lead to multiple residences, parcels of land that support agricultural activity or amenities such as lakes, rivers or the ocean.

Up to 90% of the funding will be provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development through the local authorities. The remaining contribution is expected to come from local residents, or local authorities – in the case of roads leading to public amenities.

Launching the programme at the National Ploughing Championships, the Taoiseach said: “It’s a really effective scheme to improve small roads, laneways and boreens which don’t come under the control of local authorities.

These roads give access to homes, farmyards, agricultural land and business premises, and are often heavily used – but because they fall outside of direct local authority control, many need upgrading.

“It’s only right and fair that some of the motor tax, excise duty on fuel and local property tax paid by people in rural areas is invested in the repair of shared laneways that connect their homes, farms and businesses to the public road network.

“I pressed for its inclusion in the current programme for a partnership government. So I commend Minister Ring for re-launching the scheme so soon after his appointment,” he said.

The Department of Rural and Community Development will fund the scheme and it is set to be delivered through local authorities.

Improving connectivity

The scheme is about improving small roads and laneways in rural Ireland, which are not under the normal maintenance of the local authorities, Minister Ring explained.

“For people who live in rural areas, road connectivity is hugely important. The Action Plan for Rural Development prioritises improving rural infrastructure and connectivity.

“Creating an LIS scheme is just one of the measures we are taking to improve that connectivity.

I urge the local authorities to implement this programme and to spend this money without delay. The upkeep of these roads is a priority for people who live in rural Ireland.

“We haven’t been in a position to adequately fund the LIS scheme for the last number of years, but we made a commitment in the programme for a partnership government that we would reinstate the scheme,” he added.