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Reilly Accuses Dempsey of Leading Towns up Garden Path

10 December, 2010


Sinn Fein Cllr Joe Reilly has accused the Minister for Transport of leading Navan and 28 other towns up the garden path in relation to his Smarter Town Initiative.
He said:
"In 2008/9 Minister Noel Dempsey TD launched his Smarter Travel Initiative. This initiative was to provide funding of €50m over three years to the winning top three towns in the state. Twenty nine towns, initially, including Navan, entered the competition".
"Navan Town invested up to €80,000 of Navan tax-payers money into preparing to win the top prize, which if successful would have seen, according to the Minister, €15m invested over three years in Navan or the winning town".
"Navan was successful in reaching the last twelve of the competitions. The results of the competition were due in July of this year".
"The staff of Navan Town Council did trojan work. They mobilised every sector of the Navan community. Business, educational centres, including creating a Guinness Book of Records for the longest "Walking Bus" sporting, community and voluntary groups. Countless hours were spent meeting with representatives of the Minister’s department by local elected representatives, staff from other statuary agencies. They united the town in pursuit of being the winning town and all working together to win the competition for the betterment of Navan and its citizens".
"Minister Dempsey said the results would be announced in July of this year. Then it was going to be August. Nothing happened. I issued a statement in September asking Minister Dempsey for clarification on the results of the competition. There was no response. Four months later the Minister remains silent on the competition results"
"I have now asked Deputy Arthur Morgan to put a Parliamentary Question (PQ) to Minister Dempsey asking if he intends to announce the winners of the €50m Smarter Travel competition or has the money now gone like the other billions into the defunct banking system?"
"Have 29 towns across the state been hoodwinked by the Minister? Have we spent thousands of Navan tax-payers money on a non-existent Smarter Travel initiative? Does Minister Dempsey intend to continue by announcing the winners and awarding the promised funding?"
"The people of Navan and the other 28 towns at least deserve a response from the Minister as to why the results of a competition initiated by him is now five months behind schedule with no indication from him as to what is happening or when the results might be announced" ENDS

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