Clonmel’s annual Mayor’s Fund that is distributed to people in need in the town at Christmas is being shelved for the first time in its history of more than 20 years due to the low volume of donations it has attracted.
Mayor of Clonmel Darren Ryan announced yesterday (Tuesday) that there wouldn’t be any Mayor’s Fund this Christmas due to the very low amount of finances collected for the appeal.
He has blamed the pressures of the recession for the low level of donations and decided instead to forward any contributions the Fund has received and applications for assistance to the St Vincent de Paul Society in the town, which has agreed to process them. “I feel it’s the best decision I can make in the circumstances,” he said.
The Mayor’s Fund accepts monetary donations, which are used to purchase vouchers for redemption in local supermarkets to help people in need to purchase food and groceries at Christmas.
Mayor Ryan said the “explosion” in the number of applications for assistance from the Fund as the recession impacts on more households combined with the fall off in donations from hard pressed businesses in Clonmel meant it was not possible to distribute adequate amounts of vouchers to applicants.
“If I was to give out what we have raised, it would be an insult to those who have applied,” he told The Nationalist.
Last week, the Mayor made a last ditch appeal to the people of Clonmel to support the Fund ahead of the closing date for donations on December 2 but it didn’t bring the hoped for last minute surge.
The Labour councillor confirmed this was the first time the Mayor’s Fund has not gone ahead in the town.
“It’s very much a sign of the times. I am acutely aware that businesses are struggling on a daily basis. There were businesses who acknowledged the letters I sent them about the appeal but pointed out that there were so many people looking for assistance at Christmas. As mayor I acknowledge that and thank the businesses, individuals, organisations and councillors, who have contributed to the Fund.”
Mayor Ryan stressed that while the Mayor’s Fund wasn’t going ahead this year, this didn’t mean there wouldn’t be one next year or future years.
He thanked the St Vincent de Paul for very kindly agreeing to take over the Fund’s contributions and applications this year.
He said the volume of donations was too low to allow him distribute adequate amounts to those in need, who have applied for assistance from the Fund.