• Mayo County Councillors have agreed the 2020 Budget, at a third Budget meeting this afternoon.

    There was considerable discussion last week as the council executive sought a 3% increase in rates, while proposing to cut the GMA funding - the General Municipal Allocation - by half in each of the Municipal Districts.

    At today's meeting, councillors agreed to raise rates by 4% next year, but with no increase the following year, while the GMA funding will remain at the same level as this year at €2.1 million, and will be ringfenced for both 2020 and 2021.

    Ballinrobe-based Councillor Damien Ryan, the Fianna Fail whip on Mayo County Council, says the 4% increase in rates may be an unpopular move, but - due to changes in the Small Business Support Scheme - 67% of rate payers in the county will not see an increase in their rates bill next year.


  • Friday 25th January is the closing date for residents associations, burial ground committees, Tidy Towns committees, festivals and other community clubs and organisations to apply to Mayo County Council for funding under the GMA - General Municipal Allocation.

    Each of the four municipal districts in Mayo has funding set aside under the GMA, and the council is now advising that applications for GMA funding are open until the 25th January.

    West Mayo Independent Councillor Christy Hyland is urging groups to apply for the funding before that date....

  • Ballina councillors have called for an immediate meeting with the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, as Mr Hynes is withholding  the paying out of GMA 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.

    Director of Services for Mayo County Council Tom Gilligan told angry councillors yesterday at the monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District 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.

    It was a long, and at times, angry meeting, where elected councillors  simply refused to accept the response of Director of Services Tom Gilligan – and eventually called for Peter Hynes, the man in charge, the CEO of the county, to come and talk to them himself.

    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, the councillors claimed.

    They  said if the revenue from Pay and Display car parking charges is not what was agreed in the budget, insinuating that Westport’s refusal to introduce street car parking charges was the main cause of the shortfall, than why should voluntary organisations in Ballina have to pay for that?

    Councillors asked why the GMA allocation that had to be hit, why not take back some of the funding they allocated to the LEO office, or councillors' expenses or any other item in the budget?

    But despite the volume of questions the answer by the Director of Services remained the same – the process to look at how the shortfall in the agreed budget can be resolved is underway and the GMA will not be paid out until it is resolved.

    Fianna Fail councillor Annie Mae Reape is the Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District and she told Midwest News that they are now demanding answers directly from Mr Hynes.



  • The Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council has called on the executive of the local authority to immediately restore funding under the GMA fund, a fund that provides important monies to a wide variety of voluntary and community groups. 

    Speaking to Midwest Radio News today Brendan Mulroy insisted that his colleagues in West Mayo are not accepting the position of Council Directive of Services Catherine McConnell, who yesterday told the Belmullet/ Westport Municipal District meeting that the 465,000 euro fund for their municipal district is paused.

    She explained that the monies are simply not there at present to pay out the funds approved to the variety of successful applicants under the funding scheme. She said that does mean that it will never be paid out, but with Mayo County Council losing 1.75 million euro in income per month during the present pandemic – it’s not clear now, where the money will be found.

    Despite her explanation councillors in west Mayo insisted on approving the funding in their area and said the motion will come again before the complete meeting of Mayo County Council next month, and they were confident that their colleagues in the other three municipal districts in the county will support the motion.

  • There is welcome news today for voluntary groups in the Claremorris Municipal District area that had applied for funding under Mayo county council’s GMA fund.

    The GMA fund has hit the headlines for some months now, as councillors across the county argued with the CEO of the county, Peter Hynes, over the paying out of the monies.

    Mr Hynes had withheld the payment of the county GMA fund due to a shortfall in the authority’s revenue for car parking charges, as agreed by councillors at the 2018 budget of Mayo county council.

    Festival committees, tidy town, resident groups and other voluntary organisations depend on this funding that can vary from a few hundred euro to thousands of euro, to carry out their work annually.

    Revenue that was anticipated would be raised by introducing street car parking in charges in Westport has not materialised, as street car parking charges have not been introduced in the town.

    Many councillors have been critical of West Mayo councillors in not introducing what was agreed, particularly as they argued it was now impacting on voluntary organisations across the rest of the county.

    At the May meeting of Mayo county council Mr Hynes said he was in discussions on the matter and hoped the issue would be resolved by the June meeting of Mayo county council which is next Monday.

    It now appears that the Municipal Districts may be working independently, as councillor John Cribben told Midwest News today that at the Claremorris Municipal District meeting held yesterday , Director of Services,Liam Hanrahan told councillors the monies will now be paid out in their district.

  • A proposal to cut the GMA funding allocated to Mayo's four municipal districts by half next year has caused heated exchanges at council meetings in Claremorris and Castlebar this week.

    The executive of Mayo County Council has proposed to halve the allocation to the four Municipal Districts - from €2.1 million this year to €1.05 million in 2020.

    GMA funding is usually allocated to community groups, voluntary organisations and local committees and events.

    Councillors in the Castlebar Municipal District have unanimously opposed plans to cut their  GMA - General Municipal Allocation - by half in 2020 to €245,000.

    There were also heated exchanges at this week's monthly meeting of Claremorris Municipal District over the proposed cut in GMA funding  to €350,000.

    Fine Gael Councillor Patsy O'Brien says Mayo Co Co could make savings elsewhere, rather than cutting the GMA fund, and says a 50% reduction is simply not on.

  • The GMA (General Municipal Allocation) monies that had been “paused” by council officials last week for voluntary and community groups across county Mayo are now to be paid out in agreed phases. The development has emerged following a meeting yesterday between the acting CEO of Mayo County Council Peter Duggan and a number of councillors from the 4 municipal district areas in the county.

    That’s according to the Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District Michael Kilcoyne.

    On Monday last at the West Mayo Municipal district meeting, councillors were angry at any suggestion by council management that their allocation of GMA funding could not be paid out for the moment, due to the huge financial losses per month in income that Mayo County Counci, is experiencing during the pandemic lockdown (estimated at 1.75 million euro a month)

    That is because at present commercial rates are paused, car parking fees on the streets of towns and in council car parks are no longer in operation and leisure and swimming facilities in the county operated by the local authority are all closed.

    West Mayo councillors refused to accept however, that as a result ,GMA funding would be paused,  and now they have been backed by cllrs across the county.

    Cathaoirleach Kilcoyne has been telling Midwest News about the outcome of yesterday’s meeting between both sides.

  • The Chief Executive of Mayo county Council Peter Hynes says he is hopeful that the complications preventing the monies being paid out to voluntary groups across the county under GMA funding, may resolved before the June monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.

    The withholding of payments to the voluntary groups of monies allocated by elected councillors ,has been causing extensive controversy.

    The groups impacted include festival committees, tidy town groups and residents associations among others.

    Elected councillors were advised by council management last month that the GMA fund was being withheld until they could resolve the shortfall in income from car parking charges that had been agreed by councillors in their 2018 budget.

    At yesterday’s monthly meeting of Mayo County council Fine Gael councillor John Cribben called on the Chief Executive to immediately pay out the funds allocated to the voluntary groups, who he argued need the monies now.

    Mr Hynes explained that there are complications in the paying out of the fund but he said he is engaging in discussions with the Municipal Districts Managers and he is confident that the issues will be resolved before the next monthly meeting of the council.

    Claremorris councillor Tom Connolly said he was not prepared to see any increase in car parking charges in the Claremorris Municipal District to compensate for the failure of West Mayo councillors introducing street car parking charges in Westport.

    “We won’t subsidise Westport”, he insisted.

  • West Mayo councillors appeared stunned yesterday when it was revealed that GMA funding withheld from local voluntary groups, was accessed by council management to fund its own events like Mayo Day.

    The news was revealed at a special draft 2019 budget meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District yesterday evening.

    GMA funding, monies given out to voluntary groups from a fund controlled by councillors, was stalled this year in West Mayo because council management insisted the GMA could not be paid out unless councillors agreed to raise more money in car parking fees. In the case of west Mayo that additional funding could be secured through car parking charges being introduced on Westport streets. Just last month councillors who had long opposed the idea of on street car parking charges eventually agreed to allow them to go ahead in Westport. They will come into operation early in 2019.

    Yesterday councillors demanded answers from council management as to why they were not informed of the GMA allocations to Mayo Day and the twinning celebrations for St Patrick’s Day.

    Newport based independent councillor Michael Holmes told Midwest News this morning that he and other councillors are not questioning the value of these allocations but rather the process that was used to approve them in light of the controversial year regarding GMA allocations.