Clubs and community organisations in Shannon Town have failed to cash in on a €2 million Government scheme to fund community facilities.
Of those that did apply, only four applicants in the Shannon Municipal District received funding totalling a paltry €2,500 out of the €64,000 allocation for County Clare. However, not a single cent was allocated to sports clubs or community organisations in Shannon Town.
The scheme provided small capital grants to community groups and was administered by Clare County Council through its Local Community Development Committee (LCDC). A report provided at last week’s Shannon Municipal District meeting outlined the extent of the scheme and noted that the only qualifying applicants in this district were Cratloe Community Council (€1,000), Boheraroan Estate, Newmarket-on-Fergus (€500), Sixmilebridge Youth Club (€500) and Bunratty/ Cratloe Football Club and Bunratty Local Development Association (€500).
The grants had been agreed at a meeting of the LCDC on 6th July 2017 when they were proposed by Cllr Richard Nagle (FF) and seconded by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG).
When the matter was discussed Cllr Gerry Flynn pointed out that Shannon councillor Mike McKee is a member of the LCDC representing the Shannon Municipal District and he asked McKee if he could explain why such a small amount of funding was allocated to the Shannon district.
McKee responded, “I’ll find out tomorrow”.
Despite being a member of the committee that decided on the allocation, McKee told his fellow councillors that he was disappointed only five applications from the area had received funding.
Fianna Fáil councillor Cathal Crowe pointed out that he is not privy to LCDC affairs but said this had been heralded as a wonderful €2 million scheme nationally but it was not a huge money to invest in communities.
Cllr Crowe pointed out that Clare has four Municipal Districts, yet the Shannon MD received just €2,500 out of a €64,000 allocation for the county, less than 4% of the county allocation. Cllr Crowe proposed that Boheraroan, Sixmilebridge Youth Club and Bunratty/Cratloe should be bumped up from €500 to €1,000.
Meetings facilitator Liam Conneally committed to making that request to the LCDC but it was unclear whether the decision taken in July is final and binding.
Cllr Gerry Flynn was also disappointed with the €2,500 received and wondered why it was that community organisations did not appear to have engaged in this particular grant scheme. Cllr Flynn pointed out that the €500 allocated to Sixmilebridge Youth Club is “a minuscule amount” given that the club will spend €5,000 on a project to purchase lighting and backdrops for the community’s annual stage production.
Furthermore, Cllr Flynn said that if he had represented the area on the Local Community Development Committee, he would have fought for a greater share of the €64,000 for the Shannon Municipal District.