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EU Structural Fund admission shines light on government incompetence

2 August, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today reacted to the news that the state almost lost out on 280 million euros of EU funding in 2003.

It has emerged that a number of government departments were weeks away from losing almost 300 million euros in EU Structural Funding in March 2003. In light of this, Ms McDonald has called for an "urgent review of the way in which government administers funding".

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"Had this state lost out on nearly 300 million euros of EU funding it would have had disastrous consequences for infrastructure and sustainable development in the 26 Counties. The news that then Minister Charlie McCreevy sent a letter to ministerial colleagues in January of 2003, warning that if money was not drawn down by March 03 then the funding would be lost, is a startling admission of government complacency and incompetence.

"This approach leads to the assumption that if the government were weeks away from losing this money, then they obviously had no thought out strategic plans as to how the money would be allocated or used for essential projects.

"Can we afford to have such a blasé attitude to the drawing down of EU Structural Funding? Thankfully, the funding was claimed in the end but this admission raises some very serious questions and should act as the impetus for an urgent review of the way in which government, and individual departments administer funding." ENDS

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