Magherafelt Council demands funding for rural communities

Councillor Brian McGuigan.
Councillor Brian McGuigan.

MAGHERAFELT District Council is writing to the Stormont Executive demanding funding for rural communities..

The Sinn Fein controlled council is also writing to the DUP Finance Minister Simon Hamilton whose High Court action quashed a decision by the Agricultural Minister Michelle O’Neill to transfer 7 per cent of direct European support to fund rural development projects.

The CAP modulation rate was set at 0 per cent after the successful challenge in the High Court.

In a notice of motion tabled by Sinn Fein Councillor Kathleen McEldowney she argued that decision could have a detrimental impact on the Going for Growth strategy, the environment and funding for rural communities.

Party colleague Brian McGuigan claimed the main reason the transfer was stopped was the DUP did not want to see it going to the GAA and funding facilities.

Councillor McGuigan said the funding should not be going to big farmers but used to benefit farmers in disadvantaged areas such as the Sperrins.

DUP Councillor Paul McLean said his party were disappointed that the matter ended up in court action.

He said his party had engaged with DARD and tried to get a resolution before court action commenced.

“We have ended up getting the result that the Party were looking for. The DUP has always opposed the transfer of funds from active farmers into the rural development programme,” he said.

He claimed the DUP action had resulted in £137.5 million being retained with farm families community right across Northern Ireland.