Top (from left): Journalist Ken Foxe, document he obtained under FOI, and Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring
Ken Foxe, in both The Sunday Times and the Irish Mail on Sunday reported that the Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring allocated almost €120,000 to a project – involving pedal-powered carriages on a disused railway line – in his constituency “despite warnings from civil servants it could set ‘problematic precedents'”.
Mr Foxe reported: “One official said the project appeared to have the least merit of four proposals that were seeking extra funding.”
He also wrote the Kiltimagh Velo project received the single largest funding allocation of any local authority project last year.
Further to this…
Mr Ring spoke to Midwest Radio about the project and said he wouldn’t be apologising to Mr Foxe, the Irish Daily Mail [sic] or The Sunday Times for any decision he makes regarding funding allocations.
From the interview…
“First of all, I have to say, that I’m the minister of the department and I make the decisions, as minister. That was Ken Foxe and the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times. I didn’t see Ken Foxe reporting that I gave €2million to inner city Dublin before Christmas in relation to projects that need to be done there – particularly in disadvantaged areas.
“But when a few euros come to Mayo, they seem to have a major problem with it. Ken Foxe and the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times seem to have a problem with any funding coming into Mayo, so, in future now, do I have to correspond with Ken Foxe and anybody else when I’m putting funding into Mayo.
“The answer to that is no. I will make the decisions as I make the decisions…
“…I make decisions on the basis of the decisions that come before me and I have no problem making big decisions, that’s my job, as minister. I make decisions every single day.
“I make decisions in relation to my department and I will continue to do that and I won’t be apologising to Ken Foxe, I won’t be apologising to the Daily Mail, and I won’t be apologising to The Sunday Times and I won’t be apologising to anybody in relation to any decisions of allocations of money I make in rural Ireland.”