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Fine Gael must withdraw call to close down Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs – Doherty

15 December, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has called on Fine Gael’s Olivia Mitchell to withdraw her weekend comments in relation to the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

In an interview on NewsTalk Radio’s “The Wide Angle”, on Sunday morning, the Dublin South based TD compared the Department to a quango and stated that it’s only purpose is “giving out grants”. She also called for the Department to be scrapped and its functions to be amalgamated into the remit of Government Departments.

Senator Doherty said:

“Many people are starting to worry about the real agenda of Fine Gael if they form the lead party in the next Government. These comments from a senior Fine Gael spokesperson only add to those concerns.

“The Department of Community, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs provides a critical focus on the needs of our Gaeltacht communities and our rural communities including partnership boards and Community Development Projects, and our rural communities.

“Deputy Mitchell’s arrogant comments demonstrate an alarming ignorance of the real needs of our rural communities and the work of community development workers and volunteers.

“Deputy Mitchell must withdraw those remarks on behalf of the Fine Gael party. If Deputy Mitchell fails to withdraw her comments then Enda Kenny must intervene and dismiss her from his front bench to demonstrate that there is no doubt in relation to his Party’s commitment to the communities of rural Ireland.

“As a number of senior Fine Gael spokespersons have now championed the McCarthy report, a report seen as an outright attack on rural Ireland, Enda Kenny should also spell out what aspects of the McCarthy report his party would implement if his party were in Government.” ENDS

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