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Spillane recommendations for rural development need funding - Stanley

4 March, 2015 - by Brian Stanley TD

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD has criticised the response to his question at the Dáil Environment Committee Minister regarding the report of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas. Minister for State Anne Phelan confirmed that no funding has been provided for the implementation of the 34 specific measures that are included in the Commission’s report.

Deputy Stanley said:

“The only funding provided is €1 million to be used for ‘co-ordination’ of existing services. People in rural Ireland were led to believe that the Commission chaired by Pat Spillane was going to be this Government’s main initiative for the economic development of rural Ireland.”

“While all of the recommendations are worthy, most of them require funding. Recommendation 14 for example which is the introduction of a funding mechanism for ‘early stage development of social enterprises’ will require funding; as will recommendation 17 which sets out the need for ‘continued improvement of the road network’.”

“Others on rural transport and developing tourism and renewable energy and enterprise would require some level of funding.  Sinn Féin is not simply advocating throwing money at all of these issues or that funding alone will solve the problems of rural Ireland.  We do believe however that without funding many of the 34 recommendations of the CEDRA report will not be implemented.”

“There is little point in the Government setting up this commission to come up with recommendations if they do not provide at least some resources to enable this to happen.”

“Otherwise people in rural areas will see this as just window dressing by Fine Gael and Labour in the run up to the general election. Glossing reports that are left to gather dust will do nothing to address the challenges facing rural areas.” 

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