A Councillor in Moyle reacted with bemusement to suggestions of a ‘Funding disparity’ between the Orange Order and the GAA in the District. The claim made by a Lodge member was laughed at by Councillor Mc Shane who said, “They must apply before we can refuse them”.
The reaction comes following revelations obtained under a freedom of information request that, over a three year period, Moyle District Council had contributed £378 to the Orange Order while over the same period the GAA obtained £62,000.
Much of the funds obtained by GAA Clubs in Moyle had been gained through the ‘Community Infrastructure Fund’. The fund was set up in 2008 after it was requested by Independent Councillor, Padraig Mc Shane.
Councillor Mc Shane stated;
“I proposed the Community Infrastructure Fund be set up following lengthy and protracted meetings with senior officials in both the GAA and Moyle District Council. It was plain to be seen at the time that Moyle had never sought to support the organisation in any meaningful manner relating to its size in the District. Over 120 teams play Gaelic Games in Moyle. The fund was not set up in isolation but rather, was for all voluntary and community groups to obtain funding.
On the allegations of funding disparity Councillor Padraig Mc Shane said;
“The first thing we must do is distinguish between a National sporting organisation and a supremacist, quasi-religious organisation. No comparison exists.
“Secondly, it would be important to ask ourselves why the Orange Order received no funding. Given they never applied, it will be relatively easy for the ratepayer in Moyle to understand why they drew a blank.
“The days of a wink and a nudge to obtain funds in a local Council are over and the Orange Order is now subject to the same rules as everyone else.”
The Councillor finished by saying;
“Of the £207,889 allocated since it was set up, the Community Infrastructure fund has enhanced the six GAA clubs in Moyle by over £100,000. The combined costs of the part-funded projects amount to almost £750,000 helping to redress a historic legacy of under funding in this sporting sector.
“The funding won’t be going away as my proposal enjoys the support of the SDLP and Sinn Fein. Councillor Blaney is also an avid supporter. Added to that, many Unionist Councillors also realise the benefits of the fund.”