West Mayo councillors once more express anger over Greenway funding fallout

Cllr Brendan Mulroy

Cllr Brendan Mulroy

A number of elected members of the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District have once again expressed their anger at the way that Mayo County Council had to hand back €2 million in funding for projects along the Clew Bay Greenway.

The councillors were speaking at the monthly meeting of the district which took place this week following the airing of the RTÉ Investigates programme, which highlighted the reasons for the council having to return the money.

The Cathaoirleach of the district, Fianna Fáil councillor Brendan Mulroy, told the meeting that he had considered resigning from his position as Cathaloirleach over the previous weekend due to a lack of trust between the councillors and the council's management, saying: "I did genuinely reflect on my position over the weekend because every second person I was talking to over the weekend was talking about it. The right way forward is to get answers and work from the inside out rather than walk away from this mess, and that is what I intend to do so."

His Westport based colleague, Fine Gael councillor Peter Flynn, was hard hitting in his criticism, hitting out at the Director of Services for the council, Catherine McConnell, saying that she had "failed" in her role, as she was responsible for tourism development from 2017 to 2019.

He told the meeting that: "You were responsible for tourism, and you were responsible for the best interest of this district, and in my view you failed. I take no pleasure in saying it, but I will not say it behind your back, I will say it straight to you."

Cllr Mulroy said that one big problem the councillors had was that the council had been informed by the relevant Government department that it was going to seek the funding back for projects that had not been completed, including the Bertra to Lecanvey Greenway project. But councillors had constantly asked for updates on the projects at meetings and weren't told there was any issues. He continued saying that: "We stood up and told the community of Louisburgh that we will support them and deliver their greenway."

He added: "We believed what we were saying because we were told it was going ahead. We were completely misled, and there is no two ways around it. The community of Louisburgh deserves an apology for being misled by this council. The money wasn’t there to deliver the project, and that is a sad indictment of this chamber."

Cllr Flynn added that even if the councillors were told in private there was an issue that they could have tried to do something, the councillors would have been angry about it, but they would not have gone out meeting landowners and talking at meetings, saying everything was fine.


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