Ring of Gullion cuts to be debated in Stormont

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Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
Community, Politics
The 100% cut to the Ring of Gullion AONB’s NIEA funding is set to be debated in Stormont. gullion5Sinn Fein’s Newry and Armagh MLA Mickey Brady tabled a motion for an adjournment debate on the issue yesterday. Brady said Sinn Fein would not allow the issue to be quietly forgotten about. “This was a particularly savage cut on a group doing great work with a relatively small budget,” he said. “Cutting the group’s budget entirely means that it not only loses out on NIEA funding but can’t apply to draw down funding from other sources, something it was doing quite successfully. “In fact for every £1 it received from the NIEA it was drawing down £5 from other sources; drawing down more than £1.5million in total that it used to maintain and promote the Ring of Gullion AONB. A pretty big return for a relatively small investment of £43,000,” he insisted. “The loss of the AONB Officer also means there is no one to monitor damage to the Slieve Gullion Special Area of Conservation, something that could result in hefty EU fines. “The Ring of Gullion is not like other other AONB’s that had their funding cut. Places like the Mournes and the Belfast Hills are funded well enough from other sources that they can absorb this cut and survive. Brady added, “The Ring of Gullion can’t. If this cut is allowed to go ahead unchallenged it will be to the detriment of the entire south Armagh area.”

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