Council in spat over Great Greenway Scandal

TAKEN TO TASK Unbiased councillor Richard Finn.

Edwin McGreal

A debate on Mayo County Council’s dealing with of the Nice Greenway Scandal at yesterday’s month-to-month assembly of the authority turned very heated.
Cllrs Peter Flynn (FG) and Richard Finn (Ind) obtained concerned in a confrontation because the repercussions from the funding scandal proceed.
The matter got here up for dialogue below Director of Finance’s Peter Duggan’s report on the council’s annual monetary assertion.  
Cllr Flynn took challenge with Mr Duggan saying that ‘miscoding’ of things was a ‘key discovering’ in an audit of the council by the Division of Rural and Neighborhood Growth.
Final December it emerged that Mayo County Council had falsely declared eleven greenway tasks within the county have been full. They’d signed declarations in 2019 that some tasks which had not even began have been completed, and drew down their completion funding from Authorities. When this was found, the council needed to return over €1 million in Authorities funding. It has been allowed to proceed with one other €1 million value of tasks, however solely below strict phrases and situations.
Mr Duggan mentioned the council’s requirements ‘regrettably’ fell and mentioned ‘sturdy procedures’ to cease a reoccurrence are being authorised.
Cllr Flynn mentioned that he ‘couldn’t abdomen’ ‘miscoding being the important thing discovering’, saying ‘the folks of west Mayo’, the place many of the tasks have been primarily based, would say the ‘key findings’ have been ‘false claims’ and that ‘nobody has been held to account’ and there was ‘no apology’.
He proposed the annual monetary assertion be amended, and this was seconded by Cllr Michael Kilcoyne.

‘Fraudulent claims’
Cllr Damien Ryan (FF) mentioned he’s ‘a agency believer that so as to transfer ahead we’ve to depart what occurred prior to now prior to now’.
Cllr Gerry Coyle (FG) mentioned ‘generally we make an enormous fuss about errors and we by no means have a look at the great things’.
Cllr Finn then blamed the Division, saying ‘I can’t perceive how Departments can sanction cash for tasks which aren’t shovel prepared’.
Cllr Flynn responded instantly.
“I can’t let that remark go. I’m shocked Cllr Finn would cross blame onto the Division. They solely approve funding when councils ship them claims for tasks they are saying are shovel prepared. Ten fraudulent claims have been made. Nobody else is guilty. This isn’t one thing taking place in every other county,” he mentioned, earlier than asking Cllr Finn to withdraw his comment.
“I’ve no intention of withdrawing it,” retorted Cllr Finn. “You say you’re an accountant and an auditor nicely I’ve a level in economics so I’m as match as you to face up and speak,” he mentioned, earlier than each exchanged additional phrases on the matter.
Cllr Jarlath Munnelly (FG) got here in, saying Cllr Finn ‘laying the blame at another person’s door is idiotic to be sincere’.
“That’s one of many stupidest issues I’ve ever heard in Mayo County Council, and that’s saying one thing,” mentioned Cllr Munnelly.
Responding in a while, Mr Duggan mentioned that miscoding was ‘one of many key findings’, including that ‘it goes with out saying’ that what Cllr Flynn referred to ‘was additionally a key discovering’ in how he had outlined it in his report.

Wage queries
Within the report, Mr Duggan reported an earnings within the council’s income account of €184.5 million, and €130.4 million earnings of their capital account, for 2021. The related expenditure figures have been €184.3 million for the income account and €126.5 million for the capital account.
He mentioned there’s a deficit of €3.7 million on the income account general, which had been introduced down by over €1 million over the previous three to 4 years however wanted to be diminished additional.
He mentioned the previous two years with Covid had seen the council cope with ‘monetary challenges like we’ve by no means encountered’.
Cllr Peter Flynn took challenge with the determine for salaries within the council, highlighting it had gone from €44.8 million in 2019 to €50.3 million in 2021.
“That’s a rise of 12.5 p.c at a time when most companies can be experiencing a fall,” he mentioned, asking for a breakdown.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne echoed this, saying ‘this occurred throughout a yr when the council workplaces have been closed more often than not to the general public’.


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