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North-South poverty index shows neglect of rural South - Ferris

1 December, 2014 - by Martin Ferris TD

Speaking today, following the publication of an index of poverty and affluence on both sides of the border, Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris said that it bears out the reality that in the South, rural areas have been neglected and decline not addressed.

Deputy Ferris, who is the Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Agriculture said:

“All our own research and consultation with communities in rural areas has told us that rural areas South of the border are being neglected by government and that there is grave need for support and stimulus to maintain the rural way of life.

“My colleague in the North, Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA, has initiated measures to deal with rural poverty and isolation and clearly they have paid off.

“In February 2012, Minister O’Neill launched the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation framework of schemes to deliver key targets by March 2015.  The schemes are worth up to £16 million to support vulnerable people in rural communities and target the root causes of social isolation.

“Her department’s ongoing work on tackling rural poverty and promoting social inclusion has been a crucial part of showing others both inside and outside of government what works and what makes a difference in a rural context.

“So far over 80% of thespend target has been achieved and the department in the North is continuing to work in partnership with other Departments and Agencies on a number of initiatives to help those in most need.

“This is a good indication of the kind of measure Sinn Fein in government can implement to undo some of the damage done by successive Fianna Fáil and now the FG-Labour coalition in the South.

“One of the greatest examples of the damage done to rural communities by this government continues to be the cutting of funding to and the abandonment of the LEADER projects as we knew them. The Irish model of bottom-up community development and support was an example within the EU of excellence, but Phil Hogan all but dismantled it before he headed off to Brussels,” he said.

The index was developed by social and economic consultants Trutz Haase and Dr Jonathan Pratschke, in collaboration with the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) and Maynooth University’s All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO).

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