Min­is­ter’s bo­nanza prom­ise to his Mayo back­yard rings true

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Ken Foxe

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.

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