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Department review of council ongoing


PROCESS IS ONGOING Mayo County Council officials are to submit further information to the department this week.

Further information to be submitted by MCC this week

Edwin McGreal

The review of Mayo County Council’s processes by the Department of Rural and Community Development in relation to the Great Greenway Scandal is ongoing.
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 Scandal.
Answering questions from The Mayo News last week, the Department said that the council had submitted reports ‘in relation to a range of schemes and projects funded by this Department’ on May 31 last. 
“The Department has reviewed the material and met with officials in Mayo County Council last week to discuss the detail contained in the reports. Further information was requested by DRCD and this is expected to be submitted by Mayo County Council this week. Following its receipt, the Department will review the information as a matter of priority and will revert to Mayo County Council,” stated the Department.
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’.
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.