Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin has welcomed the allocation by Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan of €88,000 funding for Ballina under the RAPID programme. “This is a cause I have been relentlessly pursuing since my election to Dáil Éireann last year,” Dep Mulherin said yesterday. “I am delighted that Ballina is finally getting some funding for projects under the RAPID programme. This money will be used for vital local initiatives and the process will now be undertaken in conjunction with Pobail to decide which projects will be given priority for funding.”
The Ballina based TD also hit out at the previous Government for not delivering funding under this scheme in the past. “The allocation of the funding follows a drawn out and very unsatisfactory treatment of the RAPID programme by the previous Fianna Fáil government,” she said. “Empty promises were given by then Minister Eamon Ó Cuív and local Fianna Fail politicians in 2009 that €250,000 had been allocated for projects approved by the Ballina local area implementation team. It was confirmed to me by Minister Hogan last year that no money was ever ring fenced for Ballina RAPID by the previous administration, despite Mr Ó Cuív’s claims.”
She also hit out at the fact that a number of different community groups have applied for funds under the scheme and been approved, but no money was allocated for these projects. “Many vital local initiatives including a much needed CCTV scheme and projects put forward by Ballina Community Centre, St Vincent De Paul, the Family Resource Centre, the Sean Duffy Community Centre, Scoil Íosa and Moyne College, Greenhills Estate and St Muredach's Tce, and Enda's Villas had been approved by the local area implementation team but there were no money at all for any projects.
The first term TD went on to lambast the previous Fianna Fáil government for not following through on their promises in relation this scheme. “In making these claims they were making promises which they knew they could not keep. They deliberately raised the hopes of local people and community groups and led them up the garden path. A lot of local groups had applied for funding but never received a shilling. This is because the money was a figment in the imagination of the local Fianna Fáil politicians.”