Cllr Harry Barrett has questioned the recent announcement of a €2 billion investment by NAMA, which has pledged to spend the money on a variety of building projects around the country. The Labour councillor wants to see funds from NAMA spread around the country and invested instead in agriculture, fish farming, and renewable energy projects in Mayo and not on derelict sites in urban areas.
Cllr Barrett has written to the Minister for Finance, questioning the lack of any committment to spend any of that figure in Mayo.
Cllr Barrett said: “I totally disagree with the spending of such a vast amount of taxpayers’ money on derelict property. I am aware that 90 per cent of NAMA assets are located in the greater Dublin area and in Cork, Limerick, and Galway, so it stands to reason that the majority of that figure will be spent there.
“My proposal is that a significant part of this money should be spent in areas that will give employment and an immediate return. Mayo is screaming out for investment in agriculture, fishing, and renewable energy, but we seem to be missing out on all of this. Even the announcement today by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Simon Coveney, of a €15.5 million fund for the fishing industry, saw none of it earmarked for any project in Mayo.
“I am alarmed at the rising levels of unemployment in Mayo in general and in Castlebar in particular, and it is very sad to hear of young people leaving almost on a daily basis. The county has an abundance of resources to offer if the funding was provided. This is not happening and Mayo companies that could employ more are being starved of investment.
“My job as a public representative is to highlight what needs to be done to rectify this situation and the allocation of a portion of such funding from the above sources would yield a significant return and would go a long way to keeping our young people at home. Mayo and indeed Castlebar is being overlooked, and it is high time to act.”