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RNLI station and Belmullet GAA first recipients of Shell’s local investment

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SHELL E&P Ireland has initiated a new €5 million investment fund over three years in north Mayo as part of its commitment to the Corrib gas project.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Belmullet GAA are to be recipients of the first tranche of funding of €400,000 in total.

The company says the Corrib Natural Gas Erris Development Fund, as it is known, will continue throughout the life of the Corrib gas field. It was initiated on foot of a recommendation by former Government mediator Peter Cassells in his 2006 report.

The allocation of €200,000 towards the RNLI’s Ballyglass station will meet half the costs of a establishing a new inshore lifeboat which was purchased and launched last year.

Initial approaches by Shell EP Ireland to sponsor the craft had been rejected, due to the controversy over the Corrib gas project and concerns by local fishermen involved with the lifeboat station.

The inshore craft was paid for through fundraising by The Western People newspaper. However, costs associated with a Land Rover and a dedicated station in Belmullet town will be met with Shell EP Ireland’s support, the RNLI says.

Tony Hiney, RNLI area fundraising manager for the west, said that Shell EP Ireland had responded to a general appeal sent out to all businesses and individuals in the region. The Ballyglass lifeboat committee was “delighted” with the funding, he said. Belmullet GAA is to receive €200,000 to support the second phase of development of pitches and facilities, including a new clubhouse.

The funding was approved by an independent advisory board which was appointed in December, 2007, Shell EP Ireland says. It says the objective of the fund is “to contribute to the long-term economic, social, environmental and cultural development of the Erris area, and to provide both financial and non-financial support to ideas and projects that will benefit Erris”.

Projects associated with enterprise and knowledge, including education, marine and the environment, including tourism, sports and culture will be eligible to apply for finance, the company says.

The fund has a programme manager, and “non-financial advice” such as that relating to business planning may also be available, Shell EP Ireland says.

The company already runs a community investment programme which includes grants for third-level education.

 

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

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