Minister’s bonanza promise to his Mayo backyard rings true
AFTER his appointment as Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring promised to bring as much money as he could to his home county of Mayo. And he has been as good as his word – at least in the latest round of €21m in funding announced by his department.
The single biggest grant allocated as part of the town and village scheme this week – €1.348m – went to Mayo. That was more than any of Cork, Donegal, Wexford and Kerry – all of which have larger populations than Mayo – got in the latest funding round.
Overall, Mayo got more than 6% of the fund, even though its population makes up less than 3% of the State’s population.
And although the town and village scheme is exclusively awarded to rural areas, effectively excluding most of Dublin and chunks of Limerick, Cork, and Galway from benefiting, Mayo’s share of the fund was still disproportionately high when compared to similarly rural counties.
Kerry, for instance, got just over €868,000, while Donegal got €1,159,000. Both have significantly larger populations than Mayo.
Mr Ring had made it crystal clear on his appointment that he would not be slow to approve grants to his home constituency.
The lowest awards went to three of the Dublin local authorities – Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown – with a combined €350,000 allocated to the predominantly urban county.
Next worst was Wicklow, which got €265,000, while Offaly received €300,000 and Kildare just €416,000.
A spokesman for Mr Ring’s department said: ‘Each local authority could submit up to 15 project proposals; however, many submitted considerably less than that.’
The spokesman added that when levels of population were taken into account, many counties had considerably higher levels of funding than Mayo on a per capita basis.