TD defends record in Castlerea row

There is anger in Castlerea over the news that the Trinity Arts Community Group in the town will not receive government funding this summer that has been sought for a major project.    The Trinity Arts project involves the development of Trinity Hall in Castlerea into a 220-seat theatre with exhibition space and an art-at-work space adjacent to it. The Group says the funding had been promised for the development of an arts centre and auditorium last winter.   Ms. Breege Callaghan, a prominent supporter of Fianna Fail in Castlerea who represented the party in the 1999 local elections, has strongly criticised the government and its local representative Michael Finneran for the failure to provide the funding at this time.   Anger locally is fuelled by the fact that Roscommon Arts Centre received funding of €1 million.   Deputy Michael Finneran has defended his record, however, and explained that the funding has not been provided at this time for purely procedural reasons. According to Deputy Finneran the monies released recently from which Roscommon Arts Centre related ‘almost exclusively’ to existing projects.   ‘Castlerea will receive its funding in the next phase of the assess programme. Thirty two million euro of a fund containing €90 million was released on this occasion and almost all of that money was spent on existing centres. New projects such as the one in Castlerea will receive their funding in the coming phases. Minister John O’Donohue has approved the Castlerea project,’ said Deputy Finneran.   Speaking to the Roscommon People on Monday evening Ms. Callaghan said that the issue raises questions about the ability and influence of government representatives to deliver.    ‘We were as good as promised this funding. It raises questions about the ability of Michael Finneran to deliver,’ said Ms. Callaghan.