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Tourism initiatives receive funding under Leader programme


Anton McNulty

Businesses living along the Wild Atlantic Way and Great Western Greenway have received close to €100,000 in Leader funding to develop their businesses to cater for tourism along the route.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring announced the approval of €226,000 in funding for nine communities and businesses in Mayo. The funding for these projects will be provided by the Minister’s Department through the Mayo Leader Local Action Group.
The largest grant to be allocated was €50,000 which went to Nevins Newfield Inn in Tierneur for the development of a fully serviced motorhome/caravan site to accommodate the growing numbers visiting the Wild Atlantic Way and Great Western Greenway.
A grant of €50,000 was also allocated to the restoration of Prison House in Balla, which is described of being of great architectural and historical significance to the local area. It is currently open to the public but is in need of extensive repair.
Other tourism ventures to receive funding under the scheme include a grant of €41,972 to Achill Tours and €16,323 for an open farm in Barnatra. The grant of €41,972 for Achill Tours is to increase the guest capacity of existing B&B accommodation in Keel West from eleven to 18 people. They also plan to expand Achill Bikes with the purchase of hybrid and mountain bikes, including electric bikes, and the purchase of a storage shed.
John Martin Lally from Barnatra received the grant of €16,323 for the development of a farm shop and open farm located along the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’.
Speaking after announcing the allocation of the grants, Minister Ring said the approved projects will provide a social and economic development for the communities.
“I’m delighted to have approved support for these projects which will provide a social and economic benefit to communities throughout Mayo. Last year, 32 projects with a value of more than €1.3 million were approved in Mayo under the Leader programme. The Leader programme is well and truly up and running. In the first half of 2017 there was an average national approval rate of about €150,000 per month in Leader. From July to September last year the approval rate increased to about €2.5 million per month. Last month (January) more than €4 million was approved on 125 projects. I expect that it will grow rapidly in 2018 to the benefit of communities and businesses in Mayo and throughout the country,” Minister Ring said.
The remaining businesses and groups to receive funding include the Bellacragher Boat Club in Ballycroy which received €30,000 for the purchase of a RIB boat; €22,175 to RJM Spray Painting Ltd, Kilbeg, Claremorris for the purchase of equipment to help expand the business into the refurbishment of heavy plant machinery; €6,967 for Hayes Mechanical & Engineering, Claremorris for securing CE Certification for structural steel works.
The island communities of Clare Island and Inishturk also received funding, with Cora Keating receiving €4,905 for the training of a number of holistic therapy disciplines to facilitate the establishment of a small enterprise on Clare Island.
The Inishturk Community Club received €4,050 for the installation of three electronic point of sale terminals in the community club, shop and restaurant to enable a more-efficient system.

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