Gaeltacht LEADER saga close to resolution says Mulherin

Fine Gael TD for Mayo Michelle Mulherin has confirmed that a number of outstanding issues arising from the liquidation of Meitheal Forbatha na Gaeltachta (MFG ), the local development company that was contracted to deliver Axes 3 and 4 (LEADER ) of the Rural Development Programme in Gaeltacht areas, are close to being resolved.

Deputy Mulherin said: “I have been contacted by a number of project promoters, both individuals and community organisations, that had applied for and been approved for LEADER grants by MFG. They were concerned about outstanding payments and that the continuing viability of their projects was compromised by MFG’s demise. It has been a worrying time as some of these individuals and organisations are on bridging loans while they are awaiting a resolution. Also, the LEADER programme has not been fully operational in Gaeltacht areas since the problems with MFG arose.

“I have raised the matter a number of times with the Minister responsible, Deputy Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and am pleased to advise that a number of issues are close to being resolved. After the demise and winding up of MFG, a number of complex legal and contractual issues came to light and the Department has been working on a solution that will continue to deliver the Rural Development Programme in MFG’s geographical areas. The Department has confirmed to me that other established local development companies have been invited to send expressions of interest for the delivery of the LEADER programme. I am aware that a number of these companies are anxious to see a swift resumption of LEADER activities and to take up this job. For those project promoters who are wondering where they stand as regards accessing their funds, I have been assured by Minister Hogan that any promoter with a valid contractual arrangement with MFG will have the contract honoured. Additionally, contact has been made with promoters with fully completed contracts to verify project information in order to facilitate payment of outstanding amounts. Once this process is complete, and there are no outstanding contractual issues, a mechanism will be put in place to facilitate payment.

“Any promoters that have not had any contact from the Department but who feel that they have valid contracts should contact me at once. I will raise the matter with the Minister. I will continue to work on behalf of all promoters to ensure that they get their money as soon as possible.”

 

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