Nenagh councillors angry over projects chosen for Lough Derg stimulus funding

Councillors from Lower Ormond are up in arms over what they see as a snub to their area under the Lough Derg Stimulus Fund.

Councillors from Lower Ormond are up in arms over what they see as a snub to their area under the Lough Derg Stimulus Fund.

The fund is designed to boost torism and other projects, but councillors were shocked to hear at last Thursday’s Nenagh Municipal District Council meeting that there was no money coming their way.

“Is that it,” declared Cllr Joe Hannigan when councillors were told the money was going towards the Millennium Cross at Portroe; the Lookout at Portroe; the Lough Deg Canoe Trail, Lough Derg signage strategy and works at Tonntinne.

“I come from an area where not one red cent is being spent,” said the Kilbarron-based Independent councillor. “as far as I am concerned there is nothing from the Nenagh River down to Portumna.”

At one stage, Cllr Hannigan said he would have to reconsider his position on the council “if this is the way things are done. This is not going to happen on my watch.”

Cllr Hannigan said he had engaged with his local communities but now found he had “missed the boat”. He said he had people coming to look at plans for his area in the coming week.

“There is a lot of Lough Derg from Dromineer to Portumna. Our communities need tourism and we thought we would we able to deliver under the stimulus package. Don’t ask us to engage if council officials are just going to decide,” he stated.

However, area administrator Rosemary Joyce told him that any contact made between councillors and the council had been forwarded to the relevant decision makers. She pointed out that they did not have a say as a distict as the fund also covered other counties. The funding is done through Bord Failte, the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group and Failte Ireland.

Cllr Hannigan was backed by Cllr Seamus Morris, who said it looked like the chosen projects were “vanity projects” for a few people.

He said Lough Derg was not just for tourists and while he welcomed what was on offer, he wanted to know why clearing up the bathing area at Skehana, Luska, was not included.

Lorrha councillor Michael O’Meara maintained that there were “no votes in this area for the people in power. That list stinks.”

Cllr Ger Darcy asked for a report on where each application stood on the list.

Senior engineer Michael Hayes pointed out that it was a condition of getting funding that nominated projects be started and completed in 2015.

Ms Joyce agreed to a request from Cllr Morris that the councillors be allowed meet the people who made the decision on what projects would be included.