The ‘Back of the Bus’ for the GAA in Discrimination Move.

A major shake up of one of the most controversial community funding
pots in Moyle will see GAA Clubs in the District having to ‘cool their heels’
and wait to see if they are to gain any financial support for infrastructure
projects this year. The Community Infrastructure Fund is used by community and
voluntary organisations to promote and enhance facilities that serve the
residents of Moyle.

In a surprise move Councillors proposed that any groups that received monies from the Community
Infrastructure Fund in the past should be considered – only after new
applicants received their awards. The move will see all six GAA Clubs in Moyle
relegated to the back of the queue for awards this year because of previous
successful applications. Other groups also relegated include the Armoy
Motorcycle Road Racing Club, the Corrymeela Community, Greenlight Gateway and
the Glens Youth Club.

The Fund, first proposed in 2008, has proved controversial with Unionists labelling the
programme, ‘The GAA fund’. No group in the Causeway Ward has received financial
support from the programme. Councillor Mc Shane said, “Unfortunately the
Causeway Ward has yet to submit any applications, hence the explanation as to
why no funds have found their way there yet”.

Over one hundred thousand pounds made its way directly into
the six GAA Clubs in the District since Councillor Mc Shane’s proposal.

Councillor Padraig Mc Shane stated;

“I would implore my colleagues in this Council to think
 carefully about what they are proposing. It is simply not feasible to make this
 decision until we explore the quality of applications to be presented to
Council. To discriminate against those who have been successful in the past
 seems illegal and immoral. Projects must be judged on merit.

A vote taken on the proposal witnessed the SDLP and Sinn
Fein unite with Unionists to force the changes through. Councillor Padraig Mc
Shane was joined by his Independent colleague, Randal Mc Donnell in opposing
the changes.

Councillor Mc Shane said he was disappointed by the changes
but defended the track record of the funding in the past saying;

“It had proved the catalyst for some major projects in the
 District. It also gave Council the opportunity to attempt to address the
 historic legacy of little or no government support for the GAA in Moyle.

“In finishing I would encourage all groups, including those
who were successful in the past, to apply should they have a sound proposal.”

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