The Westport Municipal District will hold a special stand-alone meeting in January to consider a report on the removal of funding for the Clew Bay Greenway by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Last week, it emerged that the government department had withdrawn funding for the project after the council had drawn down over €1 million funds allocated to it for a number of coastal greenway projects that it said were completed, but were not – they either had no clear timeline for conclusion or had not even been started.
The issue was raised again at the December meeting of the municipal district this week. Speaking on the matter, independent councillor Christy Hyland said: "I await the report and the detail of it and hopefully the report will be available to all the councillors in the next few days and I hope that it will be processed as expeditiously as possible."
Fine Gael councillor Peter Flynn called for a special meeting to deal with the issue, saying that he wanted to hear from council management on how they planned to do the project now; and with the involvement of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII ), he also wanted to know, going forward, who exactly was going to be responsible for what areas in the project.
Director of Services for Mayo County Council, Catherine McConnell, told the members that the responsibility for projects of this kind in the council fell under the tourism section, and she was confident they would be able to inform the members of the plans going forward for the greenway.
Cathaoirleach of the district, Fianna Fáil councillor Brendan Mulroy, added that: "We are waiting for the chief executive to come back to us and I think due process needs to be followed. I can see where this meeting is going now and I think we need a stand-alone meeting to be briefed on the findings of the chief executive's report and now that we know the tourism unit will be involved, we need to have them here too at a stand-alone meeting to deal with the findings of the chief executive's report.
"We have all been inundated with calls in relation to this and had lots of representations from the public. To be fair to the chief executive and his report, I want a stand-alone meeting with the tourism section and the chief executive too."
Fine Gael Councillor Gerry Coyle said that it was a county issue and that maybe it should be a full county council special meeting. The Cathaoirleach responded that if the full council wanted to do that, they could, but with this being an issue very much related to the Westport Municipal District, there should be a special meeting of the district to deal with it. The councillors agreed to hold the meeting in January.