Rural Ireland must not pay price for government's abuse of public purse
Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Pearse Doherty argued that the downturn cannot be used as an excuse for the state to turn its back on the west of Ireland. He added that infrastructural projects in the west of Ireland such as the Derry Dublin motorway must be progressed if the is to be competitive in the future and to ensure that much needed jobs are created.
The Donegal Senator said:
"It is disappointing that little detail has been given with respect to the government announcement that it is seeking to achieve €440 million in 'savings'. How exactly will the 3% cut in pay roll costs be achieved in the various departments - what impacts will this have on service delivery? Asserting that front line services will not be affected by cut backs is simply not credible in the absence of detailed data.
"Despite government commitments to the contrary there is growing evidence across many public services including health and education of cuts that are already beginning to hurt the most vulnerable. Hospital wards are being closed and services are being reduced or removed completely. No where is this felt more acutely than in rural Ireland.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that further and more drastic cut-backs will form part of December's Budget as in dealing with the shortfall in the public finances it appears that the only option under consideration is cut-backs in public spending. The government is evidently approaching the current economic and fiscal problems in a short-sighted manner.
"The downturn cannot be used as an excuse to once again for the state to turn its back on the west of Ireland. It is absolutely crucial to the future viability of the region that social and infrastructural projects in the west of Ireland - such as the Derry Dublin motorway - are progressed with. It this is not the case we will not be in a position to be competitive in the future or to ensure that much needed jobs are created in the region. Pressing ahead with these projects, the schools building programme and social housing will ensure much needed employment as the dramatic downturn in the construction industry continues. The Government must outline clearly what action it is to take to stem rising unemployment and to ensure new jobs are created. We need a package of measures to support the development of indigenous enterprise.
"One of the key lessons for the Government is that it must proactively plan for the future of the economy." ENDS