County benefits from government spending
THERE was plenty of festive cheer for community and sporting organistaions in Mayo this Christmas, with €814,400 in funding committed to the county by the Government last weekend alone.
The biggest beneficiaries of Friday’s visit to Mayo by a blue Santa Claus were the county’s soccer and GAA bodies, while the group behind plans to build a specialised Cystic Fibrosis unit at Mayo General Hospital received €100,000, and the Western Alzheimer’s Association €150,000. The money will come from lottery funding and sports capital grants, and was administered by Health Minister James Reilly and Westport-based Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring.
The other Mayo organisations that will benefit from this latest tranche of funding in the county are: Lecanvey Community Centre which will receive €16,000; Ballindine-Irishtown Active Retirement (€600); Claremorris Family Resource Centre (€14,800); Western Care (€32,000); Crossmolina Community Council (€35,000) and Moy Valley Community Services (€6,000).
The awarding of this money brings to an end a year in which there were calls of parish pump politics and favouritism towards Mayo levelled at senior members of the government, most notably An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring. Capital funding for Mayo in 2012 has amounted to tens of millions, and was provided for a wide range of organisations and infrastructural projects, but Michael Ring has long stated that Mayo is only getting what it is entitled to.
Following last Friday’s Christmas bonanza for the county, all four local Fine Gael TD’s were quick to welcome the news.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny singled out the Cystic Fibrosis funding of €100,000 as being vital and revealed that the dedicated unit, to be located on the grounds of Mayo General Hopistal, will soon go to tender.
“This funding brings us even closer to making the Cystic Fibrosis Respiratory Out-Patients Unit and Day Centre in Castlebar a reality. I am absolutely delighted that this vital funding has been allocated, and the unit will make all the difference to people with CF in the region.”
The Taoiseach also singled out what he called the ‘hard work of Caroline Heffernan and CF West Mayo’ in their determination to raise over €800,000 so far towards the project over the last four years.
His sentiments were echoed by John O’Mahony, who paid a warm tribute to the CF organisation behind the campaign, whom he said are now just €50,000 short of the €1 million they require to construct the unit.
Speaking at the announcement of a new round of funding which was being awarded to 32 national and regional sports projects under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme, Minister of State Ring, pointed out that the projects being funded will provide better equipment and facilities for athletes from a wide range of sports, to train and compete to the best of their ability.
This funding is for projects of national or regional significance and is in addition to the €26m allocated to local projects earlier in December (€777,000 of which went to Mayo).
The two projects that were awarded funding in Mayo this time around are Mayo League Community Stadium Limited (Milebush Park, Castlebar), who receive €260,000, and Mayo GAA, who receive €200,000 for development of training facilities.
“The money for the GAA will be used for natural pitch development, fencing and floodlighting. while the €260,000 awarded to Mayo League Community Stadium Limited will be used for artificial pitch development,” said Minister Ring, who also warmly welcomed the money for other Mayo organisations, whom he said ‘carry out excellent work within the community.’
Ballina-based deputy, Michelle Mulhern, welcomed the money for the sporting organisations and commended Minster Ring for his ‘hard work in finding funds for Mayo in difficult economic times’.