A decision on where the €88,000 of dormant fund money allocated to RAPID projects in Mullingar will be spent, is to be decided “within two weeks”, it was revealed this week.
Despite the good news of the announcement, it was tinged with a little disappointment as the local RAPID committee had budgeted for €400,000 worth of improvement funds when the idea was first mootedfour years ago, and was actually allocated €250,000 by the previous administration in 2010.
“We’ve been in limbo for the last 18 months since Phil Hogan [Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government] put the handbrake on,” said Cllr Aidan Davitt, the elected members’ representative on the RAPID committee.
“The committee now has to have a second look at the projects, and a decision hasn’t been finalised,” he said.
There are six projects in line for the funding, including improvements to the youth café, Grange community centre, the sports partnership, and the womens’ centre.
Cllr Davitt did point out the smaller allocation may go a little further than expected because the projects in line for improvement were costed in 2010 “and will cost less now”.
“There’s still plenty of options in the can for now,” said Cllr Davitt.
RAPID is an acronym for revitalising areas by planning investment and development, and is a Government initiative to fast-track targetted funds to deprived or under-funded urban areas.
In Westmeath the RAPID committee comprises representatives from all societal stakeholders, including the council, the HSE, the Gardaí, elected representatives, and community workers, under co-ordinator Anne Galvin.
Both local TDs, Nicky McFadden and Willie Penrose, have welcomed the allocations to the town.
“I am delighted that Mullingar will benefit from this funding. Given the lower levels of funding available through Dormant Accounts at present, I would like to thank Minister Hogan for ensuring that Mullingar RAPID was just one of five towns recognised for funding,” said Deputy McFadden.
RAPID does fantastic work and operates across community safety and anti-social behaviour, health, family support, environmental issues, as well as with youth, education and training, and employment,” she added.
“This is an important boost and although resources are limited, this funding will be warmly welcomed in Mullingar,” said Deputy Penrose.
“Pobal will work in consultation with the RAPID area implementation team, and allow them to choose the most important and effective projects in Mullingar which can be delivered this year from their own list.”