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No Money Yet Paid Out to Communities as Part of Integration Plans

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, has confirmed to the Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD that none of the €50 million community recognition fund, which was aimed towards rewarding communities for their welcoming of refugees, has yet been paid out. 

Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said: "This is an absolute disgrace, it is clear that the government's efforts at integration of refugees and asylum seekers aren't working. We've seen many examples of where refugees or those seeking asylum have been bused into communities in secrecy, sometimes at night, without any consultation with locals and without any community dividend. This information vacuum has led to tensions on the ground in some communities. Some small rural communities have witnessed a huge overnight increase in their populations without the necessary infrastructure and investment to match the increase".

Deputy Tóibín continued: "The government have been promising this Community Recognition Fund since Christmas, but have now confirmed to me that no money has yet been paid down. This is shocking. There are examples of communities where integration has worked - where there are fantastic volunteers on the ground, good local infrastructure and full and proper communication with elected representatives and local people. Integration can work if in partnership with local communities  - but the government's shambolic handling of this issue leaves a lot to be desired and is causing huge tension around the country". 

"If we look at Cavan where a group of Ukrainian refugees had integrated well after a year and settled into the Bailieborough community, before being suddenly transferred to Roscommon. The locals in Cavan were deeply upset to see their new friends leave the locality - and presumably the difficult process of integration must now begin from scratch in Roscommon. In Galway we had a ridiculous situation which saw a government Minister - Anne Rabbitte - deny that refugees were moving into a hotel in Loughrea, while her colleague Fine Gael's Ciaran Cannon was simultaneously welcoming their arrival. There is no doubt about it - integration would work better if this funding was swiftly pumped into these communities - if the population of an area is to increase so suddenly there is a need for funding to assist the community. Aontú is calling on Minister Humphreys to explain exactly what the delay is", concluded Deputy Tóibín. 

 

ENDS

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 23/05/2023
Question Number(s): 958 Question Reference(s): 24067/23
Department: Rural and Community Development
Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount of the €50 million community recognition fund that has been spent to date; the projects on which it was spent; and the counties in which the money was spent.

REPLY


 

On 18th May, accompanied by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Stephen Donnelly and Minister of State Joe O’Brien, I announced details of €50 million in funding for over 880 projects under the Community Recognition Fund

At its core, this Fund recognises the efforts of communities who have gone above and beyond during what has been a very challenging period for our country. It will support towns and villages nationwide that have shown such generosity in welcoming people from Ukraine and other countries.

It is right that communities that have welcomed large numbers of new arrivals from Ukraine and other countries are recognised in some tangible way. The Fund is separate in its objectives and scope to any other public funding streams which aim to support the development of public service.
Through this initiative, communities will be assisted to develop projects ranging from large-scale multi-purpose sports facilities to walkways, cycle paths, playgrounds, equipment for sports clubs and community festivals.
 

The Fund has been allocated across all local authorities based on the number of new arrivals located there. It follows an extensive consultation process with local authorities who submitted their individual list of projects for approval.

As the successful projects were announced on 18th May no monies have yet been spent.  Full details of successful applications are available on my Department’s website.

 

By Aontú Press | 30 May, 2023



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