More than 10% of an €8.4m government fund for tourism projects around Ireland ended up going to Co Mayo — constituency of the minister responsible, Michael Ring.
Mr Ring made the funding announcement last week with 44 projects nationwide given funding of between €20,000 and €500,000.
Three projects in the his constituency received the maximum funding allowed for as part of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
In total, the three projects were awarded €900,000 with two given an award of €200,000 each and another receiving €500,000.
Mayo’s share of the fund was 10.7% in a county where the national share of the population is just below 2.75%.
The next highest award made to a single county was Westmeath, which received €868,000 for three projects, followed by Longford with €650,845 for two projects.
No funding was provided to Dublin, Kildare, or Laois with Limerick receiving just €30,000 for a single project under the scheme.
The Department of Rural and Community Development said awards were made on the basis of the proposals submitted and how much money had been looked for in applications. It said that projects were chosen based on “merits” rather than “population distribution”.
“The number of projects funded in Co Mayo reflects the quality of the proposals submitted under each measure and … is not disproportionate to that allocated elsewhere,” it said.
The scheme was made up of two tranches of funding, measure two with a maximum of €200,000 available and measure three with a maximum of €500,000 on offer.
Under measure two, €4.34m was awarded to 35 projects.
In Mayo, the two schemes to benefit were works on the Great Western Greenway and the Foxford Greenway.
Each local authority was invited to submit up to four projects for consideration and was allowed to seek funding of between €20,000 and €200,000.
The department said 21 counties were successful in having at least one project funded with four approved in Waterford, and three in Galway and Kerry. “The largest amount of funding was awarded to Co Kerry (€472,000) followed by counties Roscommon and Mayo (€400,000 each),” it said.
Under measure 3, each local authority was invited to submit a single project for consideration with funding of up to €500,000 available.
Eight counties, including Mayo, were successful in having a proposal approved while a ninth project submitted by Inland Fisheries Ireland was also approved.
“Five of these counties, including Mayo, were awarded funding of the maximum permitted amount of €500,000,” the department said.
Other projects funded included the Spike Island Coastal Walking Route in Cork, a wilderness park in Longford, and infrastructure for the River Suir Blueway in Tipperary.