Funding afforded to Westmeath in the recently announced Town and Village renewal scheme as been described as “shockingly disappointing” by constituency Minister of State, Deputy Robert Troy.
While the funding recently allocated to Moate is very welcome and will deliver upon a key project in the area, the overall Town and Village Renewal allocation for Westmeath is shockingly disappointing,” Deputy Troy stated.
Coupled with an initiative in Fore to the north of the county, these were the sole projects in Westmeath to receive funding, €81,000 was allocated towards Moate Museum for refurbishment works, while €100,000 was afforded to Fore to enable progress on footpath extension works to complete the looped walk.
“The total of €181,000 awarded for two projects across the entire county is a real kick in the teeth for all of the community groups out there who work so hard in their respective areas and submitted some very positive applications to this scheme.
“For example, I am personally aware of a number of projects in areas such as Rosemount and Ballymore which I believe should have been successful in securing funding.
“In comparison, all of our nearest neighbours seem to have faired substantially better through this funding stream. Offaly and Roscommon received over €800,000 in funding each, while Longford received in excess of €400,000.
“Westmeath, by some distance, has received the lowest funding of any county in the country. I have contacted Minister Heather Humphreys and asked her to urgently clarify if she will be awarding further funding to projects in Westmeath, firstly as there are positive projects within the county which should receive funding and secondly, the Minister should look to address the obvious imbalance in funding that exists.
“I have also asked Minister Humphreys to provide details on the assessment process and to provide the final scoring which was awarded to all applications received from Westmeath.
“I look forward to receiving this clarification from Minister Humphreys and I would hope that following my communication the Minister will move to address the shortfall in funding to our County,” Minister Troy concluded.
Over €1.25m for local village renewal
Meanwhile, local Independent Deputy and Chair of the Dáil Rural and Community Affairs Committee, Denis Naughten, has confirmed the allocation of €1.261m towards the significant enhancement of local villages across South Roscommon and East Galway.
Among the locations receiving key funding are Lecarrow, Knockcroghery and Dysart, all of which have been allocated €100,000 towards public realm improvements and further projects destined to enhance their respective communities.
“The funding is being made available for village enhancement, improved pedestrian access, remote working and study facilities as well as enhancing visitor and tourist experiences, all with the objective of making these villages better places to live, work and visit.
“This investment in the villages concerned will also support local job creation and provide a much-needed boost to the economy of these villages.
“The towns and villages of rural Ireland are the heart and soul of our communities and this funding is part of an overall package of funding that I sought on entering Government in 2016,” Deputy Naughten stated.