Rural Development Programme must suit the needs of people on the ground – Ó Clochartaigh
Sinn Féin’s Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called on the government to rethink its rural development programme.
The Senator who was recently in Brussels as part of a LEADER delegation said:
“People have serious concerns about the future of rural Ireland and the government has a responsibility to address these issues.
“The Rural Development Programme doesn’t deal with some very important issues and over two hundred questions have been raised about aspects of the plan.
"LEADER is vital to rural communities, to villages and small towns and its funding supports start-ups and development amongst existing enterprises.
“The Government's alignment process threatens jobs and workers in several local development companies are already on protective notice
“The Government cannot make any argument about savings, efficiencies etc. when at the same time they are taking perfectly good programmes and handing control of LEADER funds to local authority management.
“The Government needs to ensure that local development companies maintain their central role in administering the LEADER scheme.
“Rural Ireland is in crisis and the people who live there deserve better. We need a sustainable and people centred rural development programme.
“Communities across the country are up in arms trying to save post offices, garda stations etc.
“Farmers have recently had to protest about the price of beef to protect their livelihoods and on Friday hill farmers will protest in Castlebar about issues around commonage.
“If the government is serious about rural Ireland then it must immediately revisit its development programme.”