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Rural Meath deserves better – O’Rourke

10 March, 2013

The Sinn Féin candidate for the Meath East by-election, Darren O’Rourke, has been out on the campaign trail in rural communities today.

Many voters he spoke to expressed their deep concern at how successive governments have treated rural communities.

O’Rourke said:

“I spoke to many people today in rural east Meath who were extremely concerned at the future prospects of small rural communities.

“Small towns and villages have seen post offices and Garda stations shut down. Septic tank charges directly target rural households. The Meath Accessible Transport Project is to be axed by the government and rural roads have seriously deteriorated due to funding cuts. Many people I spoke to said they feel like prisoners in their homes due to the massive problem with potholes on rural roads.

“Small indigenous businesses, including small farmers, with no real support from government or credit from the banks, are going under.

“All of this and the absence of equality of access to public services threatens the quality of life of people living in rural communities.

“This is just not good enough.

“Successive governments have seen rural Ireland as the easy option to target for cuts and charges. The reality is that rural communities have had just as much as they can take.

“I want to see a fair deal for rural Meath. I am calling for:

·         A reversal of Fianna Fáil’s agreement with the Troika to cut Garda numbers by 10% and sufficient Garda visibility to crack down on criminals targeting Meath

·         Upgrading of septic tanks to be covered by a full grant

·         A radical overhaul of CAP payments to move towards a more equitable distribution of payments

·         Make funding available to address rapid increase in potholes in Meath East.

“The government needs to realise that rural communities are not the soft option, that they will fight back and that the wealth of talent and energy that exists in small rural towns and villages can make a significant contribution to the regeneration of the economy.

“That is why Sinn Féin is campaigning for a fair deal for rural Ireland.”

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