25. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the impact of the LIS, local improvement scheme, since its reintroduction in 2017; the way in which roads were selected at local level under the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18922/18 asked on 02 May 2018)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The Local Improvement Scheme was always an important initiative for people living in rural Ireland, as it provides funding for the repair of private roads which are not under the normal maintenance of the Local Authorities. 

I reintroduced dedicated funding for the Local Improvement Scheme in September 2017 after a gap of 8 years and I know, from the response of people that I meet, that the reintroduction of the scheme has already made a huge difference to rural communities around the country.

The scheme is a lifeline for people living in rural areas because it directly improves access to and from their family homes and farms.  Many people living in rural areas use these roads every day, so when the roads fall into disrepair, it has a significant impact on them. The deterioration of these roads also has implications for the provision of services, including emergency services, who can struggle to get access to people and property.  

Investing in the repair of these roads is therefore helping to improve the quality of life for people in rural areas.

In 2017, I allocated total of €17.4 million to participating County Councils under the LIS scheme.  This enabled over 700 roads to be upgraded in some of the most rural parts of the county.

I launched the 2018 LIS scheme in February this year, with an indicative allocation of €10.8 million to County Councils. It is entirely a matter for the Councils themselves to determine which roads to prioritise, in line with the scheme criteria.  Details of more than 400 individual road projects selected by the Councils have now been published on my Department’s website. 

In total, I have allocated €28 million in LIS funding since last September, and over 1,100 individual roads will benefit from this investment.