Councillor Jarleth Munnelly has accused the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, of effectively blackmailing elected councillors by the withholding of GMA funds to local voluntary groups.
The Ballina based Fine Gael councillor made the statement at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District.
Ballina councillors have called for an immediate meeting with the Chief Executive over the delay in the out of GMA (General Municipal Allocation) monies, that is the monies that a range of voluntary organisations across the county receive annually from the local authority.
It appears that the monies are being withheld, because the anticipated funding that the local authority budgeted for, from car parking charges, is short 400,000 euro.
There were angry contributions from most councillors on the withholding of the funds at yesterday’s meeting. Director of Services for Mayo County Council Tom Gilligan stated and restated throughout the debate that the monies are being withheld while a process is underway to see how the 400,000 euro shortfall from Pay and Display car parking charges that were agreed by councillors in the budget can now be resolved.
Councillors said that a number of organisations in Ballina are dependent on receiving the GMA contribution at this time of the year, like the 20,000 euro that Ballina Salmon Festival has been promised, monies to Ballina Arts Centre, funding to Tidy Towns, residents associations, the chamber and so on.Without the money, a variety of festival committees will be hit, they claimed.
Cllr Munnelly told Midwest News today that he believes that Mr Hynes is effectively blackmailing councillors over the matter.
400,000 euro is less than .003 percent of the overall county council budget in Mayo for 2018, according to Fianna Fail councillor Michael Smith. He insists that he wants in writing from the Director of Services – where it’s stated, that if monies anticipated are not secured through parking charges then that funding must be withheld to voluntary groups under GMA.
In a brief statement from Mayo County Council today it says that the CEO Peter Hynes is at meetings outside of the County today but added he is always available to meet councillors and will meet the councillors of the Ballina Municipal District on this matter