There was a further blow last month to Forum Connemara’s search for answers on the decision-making process that led to Co Galway being made a single administrative ‘lot’.
On July 17, the Appeals Court found against Forum Connemara, which had sought a judicial review on the matter, and in favour of the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), which had made the decision in September 2014.
Prior to this date, schemes such as SICAP and the Leader programme had been administered by Forum in south and north-west Connemara, with east Galway treated as a separate area. Currently, the whole of Co. Galway is viewed as one lot and the schemes are administered by a single company in Athenry.
Forum contested the manner in which the decision was made by just five people of the committee, who they judged did not have sufficient preparation or knowledge to assess the situation. It had sought a judicial review and had a hearing date set, when the Chief Officer of the LCDC took a legal challenge on behalf of the committee to halt the judicial review. Forum argued that this was a unilateral decision, taken without authority and without consultation with the committee.
Forum has also questioned why the allocation of lots was not reviewed for the follow-on programme, SICAP 2. It further questioned the independence of Irish LCDCs from their county councils, contrary to submissions made to the EU by the Government.