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Gerry Adams calls for genuine programme of decentralisation

7 June, 2004


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, who is in Galway with North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty said "It is clear that the decentralisation plan unveiled by the Minister for Finance last December is unravelling. It was ill-thought out, badly planned and produced without any consultation and ignores the need for a real programme for rural development."

Mr. Adams said:

"It is clear that the decentralisation plan unveiled by the Minister for Finance last December is unravelling. It was ill-thought out, badly planned and produced without any consultation and ignores the need for a real programme for rural development.

"Sinn Féin believes that every person, no matter where they live, should have equal access to public services; be that health, transport, education, post offices or banking. The reality for many rural communities is very different. Many of these services are either non-existent or have been withdrawn from these communities. That is clearly illustrated by the health crisis within the regions.

"The government have completely failed to fulfil the commitments, which they made in their White Paper on Rural Development. Their National Spatial Strategy, which was supposed to address the imbalance in employment, was strong on commitments, weak on delivery. The three main gateway centres into rural Ireland in the National Development Plan are Galway, Waterford and Limerick but in each of those cities, unemployment has risen since 2002.

"Public services in rural areas are under siege as the privatisation agenda is implemented. Government promises to rural-proof all state-wide policies are worthless as rural post-offices and rural areas continue to be left without access to public transport.

"Empowering rural communities - decentralisation - does not just mean the relocation of Government offices from Dublin - it means the real empowerment of local government. This is especially important for many of our marginalised and neglected rural communities, particularly in the Western region, Border and Midlands." ENDS

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