Deputy Eugene Murphy.
Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has said that the Government’s €60m plan to revitalise rural Ireland contains some real positives and he broadly welcome any such initiative which aims to safeguard and improve services and facilities for people living in rural Ireland.
“Proposals to lure people back to town centres by converting shop fronts into homes are welcome as well as a scheme due to be rolled out by the autumn which will see house buyers offered grants on a pilot basis to restore properties in rural towns and villages. Other positives include 90 new public nursing home facilities and the establishment of 18 primary care centres while I also welcome plans for a grant scheme for CCTV and personal alarms for the elderly. I also welcome the announcement of a new ‘rates alleviation’ scheme which will move to re-evaluate rates in a number of counties including Roscommon as many businesses are crippled by the hike in commercial rates," said Deputy Murphy.
“However I would like to see further clarification in relation to the upgrading of the N4 between Mullingar and Longford and the N5 between Scramogue and Ballaghaderreen as they are vital infrastructual links to the West.
"While there are undoubtedly some great positives in the plan I am fearful that the €60m which has been allocated will be spread very thinly leaving under €2m per county. The Government needs to bring forward a tangible plan with ring-fenced funding and I sincerely hope that this is simply not a rehashing of existing schemes and programmes which were previously announced.
“Moves to introduce possible rates alleviation schemes to support rural development is long overdue. However, the commitment to provide investment of up to €50m for job creation across the regions rehashes what was announced in the Programme for Government last year..
“Shockingly, 900,000 rural households and businesses will still have to wait up until 2023 for state intervention to receive moderate speed broadband - 6 years over the promised deadline. I am also disappointed that there is no specific allocation for the Local Improvement Road Scheme,” concluded Deputy Murphy.