Rónán says: “In the Seanad, I have challenged the Government for not drawing down EU funds allocated for infrastructural projects in the North West.
In the European parliament, I will fight for the funds we need.
I am committed to cutting the red tape around funds available from Europe for our area, including the Cohesion Funds 2014-2020, the Globalisation Adjustment Fund, the Broadband Scheme 2014-2020, the Training And Up-skilling funds, the European Social Fund and the Microfinance and credit schemes.
With the new EU funding programme (2014-2020) the Government must prepare ‘Partnership Contracts’ agreed with the European Commission. It has been decided that Member States will commit to focusing on fewer investment priorities in line with these objectives. The package also harmonises the rules related to different funds, including rural development and maritime and fisheries, to increase the coherence of EU action.
An important question for our region and communities is what will constitute the new investment priorities? I will fight to ensure that the ‘harmonisation’ of funds does not lead to reductions for the North West.
I will work to make a ‘one-stop-shop’ available in every county in the region with information regarding EU funds available to assist each person.
There is too much red-tape around the money that is designated for our citizens and communities. A one-stop-shop would have the advice and expertise necessary to point people towards the fund that may assist them.
I will work to hold the Government accountable on how and where it spends EU funds. I highlighted the disgraceful failure last year of the Government to spend funds allocated for infrastructural projects in the North West.
I will work to ensure the funds available from Europe for infrastructure are targeted at the North West to create infrastructure for broadband and tourism.
I will work to ensure that the funds in the new European Social Fund are targeted to projects assisting vulnerable and elderly people to reduce rural poverty and isolation.”