Deputy Martin Kenny
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture and TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Martin Kenny said that the government’s spin on the implementation of the Action Plan for Rural Development bore little relationship to the reality of rural life.
Speaking in his constituency Deputy Kenny said: “It is amazing that Minister Ring can drive home to Mayo from Dublin and not see the effects of his government’s neglect on rural Ireland. Does he not see the boarded-up shopfronts, the state of many roads and can he genuinely say that he has mobile phone coverage for his entire journey?
“Again today, we hear commitments on broadband, which seem to come around every six months or so, but people living outside the cities are still stunted by the lack of coverage and many are prevented from making a living in rural areas for the absence of reliable broadband.
“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael do not have the political will to reverse the brain drain felt across rural Ireland. Last week we saw young people in rural communities all over the country celebrating their Leaving Cert results and their achievement of points for college entry.
“The reality is that we are still rearing our children to leave because there are no jobs for graduates in the communities from which they come and once they go to college, most of them cannot come back to live and raise families in their home places.
“I am sick and tired of the platitudes and lip service about attention to rural Ireland. We need money on the table for investment in infrastructure, we need job creation and business development and we need to nurture sustainable communities if our future in rural Ireland is to be secure.
“That means all the other services necessary must be available to country people the same as they are to their urban counterparts: health services, schools, transport and policing must be maintained and improved.”