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Cullinane accuses Government of turning its back on Waterford

6 October, 2011

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has today accused the Government of turning its back on Waterford. He said the decision not to place the new central Administrative Office of the VEC in Waterford was politically motivated and ran contrary to proper spatial planning.

Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Cullinane said:

“The Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn made a political decision in not locating the new headquarters of the amalgamated Waterford and Wexford VEC in Waterford City. Waterford City is the gateway of the Southeast. The National Spatial Strategy envisaged the city as the capital of the region and its key economic driver. The fact is a strong Waterford City will deliver a strong region. Conversely an underperforming Waterford City will hurt the region.

“My questions for the Minister are this: Why was Waterford City overlooked? Why was the deciding criteria not fully adhered to? Why is the national spatial strategy being torn up? The answers to all three questions are clear. This was a political decision pure and simple. It would seem the current Government have learned well from their predecessors. Far from bringing about a change and ending political patronage and parish pump politics they are embracing it wholeheartedly.

“One of the main criteria informing the Minister’s decision making was distance employees have to travel. Placing the centre in Wexford and not Waterford defies this logic. People travelling from West Waterford will have to travel the furthest distance. The Minister raises red hearings in his response. He is not dealing with reality or logic. He is boldly standing over a bad political decision.

“Over the course of the last few weeks several Government Ministers have travelled to Waterford. They have sympathised and empathised. They acknowledge that state agencies and Government are failing Waterford. And yet they make decisions such as this which make matters worse. They are part of the problem and not the solution. They are in essence turning their backs on the people of Waterford. This cannot be allowed to continue.” ENDS

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