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Council submits funding fiasco review


REVIEW SUBMITTED Members of Mayo County Council will be hoping Government funding will be restored soon.

Edwin McGreal

Mayo County Council should find out in the coming weeks if it will be again be allowed access to state funding after the Great Greenway Fiasco.
The Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) confirmed to The Mayo News on Friday last that Mayo County Council submitted a review to it ‘in relation to a range of schemes and projects funding by this Department’.
The Department went onto say that it is ‘now reviewing that material as a matter of priority and will revert to Mayo County Council once this process is complete’.
Last December it emerged that Mayo County Council had to hand back €1.09 million in Department funding for greenways in the county after Department audits discovered many of the projects were in breach of funding terms. Some projects that the council had said had been completed had not even commenced construction.
The council also almost lost a further €1.07 million in funding for other projects that were in breach of the funding terms, but which the Department is nevertheless allowing to proceed this year – under strict terms and conditions.

Frozen out
Following on from that news, it emerged in April that the council had been frozen out of all funding schemes from the Department, pending further reviews.
The schemes include the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS), from which the initial breaches were discovered, as well as LIS road funding, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the CLÁR Programme.
In April, the Department told this newspaper that Mayo County Council will receive access to Department funding only ‘once the Department is satisfied with the level of assurance provided through the enhanced procedures and reviews that it receives from Mayo County Council’.
That review was submitted last Tuesday, and now the council must await the Department’s verdict.
The two stand-out projects that the council drew down funding for was a greenway bridge in Achill and sections of the Clew Bay Greenway from Westport to Louisburgh. In October 2019, the council signed submissions saying those projects were finished. Nearly three years on, neither has commenced.
The Department told The Mayo News that the level of repayments that Mayo County Council has been forced to make to the DRCD is unmatched by any other local authority in the country.