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Hope for MFG employees after company closure

News
Pat Kilbane

Hope for MFG employees after company closure


Anton McNulty

Following the shock closure of Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta (MFG) last week, efforts are under way to put an alternative structure in place in order to administrate Leader funding.
The board of MFG announced last week that it is terminating the company due to high levels of overspending and debt. MFG was a partnership company involved in implementing Leader funding for schemes in Gaeltacht regions around the country.
MFG’s offices in Belmullet (Comhar Iorrais Teo) and Achill (Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiuil Acla) administer these grants for the Gaeltacht areas in Mayo. It had been feared that the MFG jobs at these offices would be lost, but The Mayo News has been informed that this is not be the case. Efforts are in place to create a new company to administer the grants, and it is hoped that the employees’ jobs would thereby be secured. 
Former county councillor and manager of Comhar Iorrais Teo Tim Quinn told The Mayo News that EU funding was still in place for the Mayo Gaeltacht regions, and he said he was hopeful a company will be created in the near future.
“There was €3 million over five years approved for Mayo and at the moment the staff are still in place and are processing applications. There was a meeting between the Department of the Environment and Roinn na Gaeltachta in Dublin last Friday on resolving the issue. I am confident that they will come up with a scheme along the current structures so there will be no [job] losses whatsoever and money which is badly needed is spent,” he said.
Pat Kilbane, Chairman of Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiuil Acla released a statement denying there would be any job losses as a result of the closure of MFG and stating that a wide range of services will not be affected.
Achill councillor Micheál McNamara said the closure of MFG was a big blow to rural areas,  and he called on the Government to ensure that a new structure is in place.
“I hope that the relevant Ministers will look to keep the current structures in place. MFG has been an effective way of administering funding for Gaeltacht areas in Mayo and funded a number of projects which have been important in Mayo,” he said.
Sinn Féin councillor Rose Conway-Walsh said she hoped that jobs would not be lost following the closure of MFG and said questions have to be answered as to how it allowed itself to get into debt.
“I am calling for an investigation into how MFG got into this situation and how staff were left trying to find out through the media if they still had a job,” she said.