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Freeze on Mayo funding lifted



Edwin McGreal

The Department of Rural and Community Development have ruled that Mayo County Council are eligible once more to apply for funding, in the wake of the Great Greenway Scandal.
Mayo County Council had been frozen out of department funds since last December when the scandal first broke.
It emerged then that Mayo County Council had fraudulently drawn down over €2 million in greenway funding, saying the works were complete when some had not even commenced construction.
The council were forced to repay over €1 million in funding while another €1 million worth of projects were allowed to proceed under strict terms and conditions.
Furthermore, Mayo was frozen out of all Department funding schemes for all of 2022 until last week. These included the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), Town and Village Renewal Scheme, Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, Clár and LIS road funding.
Deputy Michael Ring, a former Minister for Rural and Community Development, announced the news last week, saying the council were eligible to apply for funding ‘subject to enhanced checks’.
“It was extremely disappointing what happened over the past 18 months with Mayo County Council when funding had been given to them. Misinformation was provided to the Department stating that some of the projects had been completed when they had not even been started and other projects where funding was drawn down and projects had been started but were no way near completion.
“Hopefully, going forward, Mayo County Council will ensure that every application for funding is ready to spend this funding should their application be successful and not have a situation where funding is granted and they are not able to use it,” said Deputy Ring.
Questions directed by this newspaper to the Department on the nature of the ‘enhanced checks’ and other issues were not answered at the time of going to press.