Minister showed money well spent
Deputy Fitzpatrick takes Minister Donohoe on tour to see where funds spent
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was most impressed when he visited Dundalk last week to see how money allocated under various capital grants is spent in the town.
Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick told The Argus that rather than taking the Minister on the usual round of meetings with local politicians, officials and delegations, he decided to bring him to see the fruits of the funding.
'It's not every day that the Minister for Finance comes to town so it was nice to show him the good work being done here with the capital grants,' says Deputy Fitzpatrick.
The first visit took the Minister to Realt na Mara Primary School where he met with principal Mr Philip McCaul and staff and learned of the school's ambitious plans for new classrooms and autism unit thanks to a €3.5million grant.
The project includes two new mainstream classrooms and five special classrooms for pupils with autism, adding greatly to the existing facilities.
It will a major improvement for the school which has over 400 pupils, 30 teachers and 17 special needs assistants, as the school had been making do with pre-fabs.
The project also sees new access to the site following the demolition of the Hospitalite House which had been occupied by the Order of Malta.
Next stop was to the Cluaid Housing Association's headquarters at Lis na Dara, where Minister Donohoe heard that Cluaid is planning to build or buy 700 houses in the county, with the majority in Dundalk, over the next three years.
'We also visited one of the Cluaid houses in the new Urban Life development at Mount Hamilton and the Minister was able to see the quality of the houses being provided by Cluaid,' said Deputy Fitzpatrick.
The voluntary housing association will have 43 houses in the Urban Life development.
The final stop in the Minister's itinerary took him to the Clan na Gael GFC, where Deputy Fitzpatrick enjoyed a legendary career as player, winning Louth Championships and league medals, during a long playing career which included representing Louth for several years.
'A lot of clubs in Dundalk, including Gaelic, soccer, rugby and tennis have benefitted from Sports Capital Grants and I wanted him to see what clubs are doing with this funding.'
In the case of the Clans, the club used its €120,000 grant to develop a new pitch.
'It was nice to show him the good work being done in Dundalk and he was very impressed with what he saw,' reported Deputy Fitzpatrick.
'The town has received significant funding in recent years and has put it to good use.'