There was bad news for Gaeltacht regions in the county with the news on Thursday that Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta (MFG ) will close. The partnership company, which was involved in implementing Gaeltacht schemes and grants and has offices in both Achill and Belmullet, employs a number of people in the region. Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta had been in existence for more than 20 years and played a key role in assisting many start-up organisations and companies in Gaeltacht regions in Mayo and across the country and employed 130 people nationally.
“As far as I’m concerned this whole thing should be looked at again,” Achill based Fianna Fáil councillor Michael McNamara told the Mayo Advertiser this week. “I know the times we’re in, but efficiencies can be found if they have to, but the work that was being done in Achill by MFG though the Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla office is outstanding. They were responsible for a number of major projects in the area, the most recent being the playground in Keel which was co-funded by them. They worked very well drawing down funding from Leader and other sources that was put to use on community projects. The rural and social scheme work and FÁS schemes were ran out of the office in Achill and have been put to very good use all over Achill.” Cllr McNamara said the loss of the jobs will have a massive effect on the area. “I think there are up to 10 people directly employed in the area by MFG and up to 50 others on different schemes like the rural and social and others, this kind of news will have a big effect on an area like Achill.”
Sinn Féin councillor Rose Conway Walsh, who represents the Belmullet region, hit out at the way this news has been handled. “There are five people employed in the Belmullet office, that’s five families who are being affected and don’t know do they have a job in the future,” she said. “The communication with them has been terrible and they need to be told straight away what the situation is with regards to their future. This organisation has been the body which drew down the funding to be used in economic and social development in Gaeltacht areas, which is something that needs to be maintained not cut.”