County council ordered to pay back €170,000 in ineligible funding for development of a bog walkway

A county council was forced to pay back almost €170,000 in funding for a bog walkway after an audit found invoices with incorrect VAT charges, substantial errors in records, and work believed to have been double claimed using state grants.

The Department of Rural and Community Development said an application for funding for the project in Co Longford was not the same as what had been “delivered on the ground”.

The audit also said Longford County Council seemed to have been “double funded” for parts of the walkway with invoices transferred over to another grant the local authority received.

It said the council had not had all planning requirements, permissions, or consents in place when they began work on the Knappogue Bog Walk and that its true cost now “cannot be verified”.

The audit also found VAT overcharges with rates of 23% on some invoices submitted for work when a lower 13.5% rate should have applied.

It said there were “substantial errors on the compliance checklist submitted” to the department with auditors saying all €168,039 claimed in funding was ineligible.

The audit said: “The project applied for is not the project delivered on the ground and numerous funding agreement conditions have not been adhered to.”

The audit was just one of dozens carried out by the Department of Rural and Community Development, which were obtained under FOI by Right to Know.

You can have a browse through them below.

If you’re working in local media and find any that are of interest, feel free to use … and maybe give Right to Know a plug!