Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South, Fiona O’Loughlin, has expressed her disappointment and frustration at the fact that an application for funding from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) for the old model school in Athy has not been approved.

Deputy O’Loughlin said it was particularly disappointing given the commitment made by Minister Humphrey’s when launching Athy Food, Drink and Skills Innovation Hub last year. At the time Minister Humphrey’s acknowledged the plans to convert the historic Model School in Athy into a centre for educational and entrepreneurial excellence for the food sector.

This anticipated project would provide budding entrepreneurs in the food and drink sector a space where they can access expertise and training, become more innovative, and grow their business, creating new job opportunities for the region.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “By refusing funding for the development of the old model school the Minister has effectively reneged on her promise. She was very much in favour of it when she visited in April last year so what has changed?

“The Minister maintained that she understood the loss to the area by the closure of Coca Cola,at the time she said she and the Government would leave no stone unturned to help provide employment in the area so this decision comes as major blow.

“I would like to commend the effort put in to the application by Kildare County Council and Kildare LEO. Their commitment to progressing this project is most welcome and I would call on the Minister to work with them to secure another source of funding,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.