Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has said he is extremely disappointed but not surprised by figures which show Westmeath and Longford fared worst when it came to the allocation of National Lottery grants under former health minister James Reilly.
Deputy Troy is urging new Health Minister Leo Varadkar to institute a review of how the Department of Health deals with the awarding of National Lottery funding and to outline the policy on Ministerial involvement in awarding funds.
Deputy Troy commented: “The figures reported in the media today that Westmeath had just three successful grant applications for National Lottery funding from the Department of Health between 2011 and 213 while Longford had just four successful applications are extremely disappointing. However many organisations in the Midlands will not be surprised by these figures, they know the Midlands has not been a priority under Fine Gael and Labour for the last three years.
“I am urging Minister Leo Varadkar to undertake a review with the Department of Health around how National Lottery funds are awarded, the level of ministerial involvement in the process and what levels of transparency are in place for competing groups to understand the process. There is huge disparity in how lottery funding has been allocated over many years and I think it is important to strengthen and streamline the process so that organisations in communities across the country know exactly what criteria is applied in determining which groups are awarded funds into the future.
“It’s clear Westmeath and Longford have not fared well during Minister Reilly’s tenure in the Department of Health with total funding awarded coming in below €50,000 between 2011 and 2013. This is very disappointing and I find it hard to believe that this is reflective of the standard of applications made for funding and the merit of the work undertaken by organisations applying for support.”