A number of councillors have called for the €8.5 million Community Gain Investment Fund that has been put up by the developers of the Corrib Gas project as part of their planning permission to have a wider geographic reach. Cllr Rose Conway Walsh, speaking at the April meeting of the Belmullet electoral area committee, said: “I do want to see it extended to areas like Ballycastle, it’s very unfair that it’s not included.” The idea of seeing it extended was supported by other councillors including Cllr Michael Holmes and Cllr Michael McNamara. At present the fund is confined to the Cill Chomain area. While asking for the geographic remit of the fund to be expanded, Cllr Conway Walsh hit out at the small nature of the fund compared to the overall profits that the project developers will make, saying: “Overall we need to look at this fund being from our own natural resources, not the developers” and “it’s a lot less than the people deserve”.
Cllr Gerry Coyle said that he would like to see one major project come about from this money that will have a major lasting impact on the Erris area in general. “I’d like to see a third level institution, linked up with other third level colleges developed in the area, or we do something like linking up the existing greenway all the way though Ballycroy and its national park and right up into Belmullet and beyond for tourism.”
Declan Turnbull from the community and enterprise section of Mayo County Council told the members of the committee that May 10 is the closing date for the applications for funding from the 2013 tranche of the money. He also gave the members a breakdown of where the money has been allocated from 2012 right through until March this year. Applications can be made under several headings such as arts, tourism, training, infrastructure, sports, health and marine.