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Reilly tells Cavan Public meeting ‘Cavan needs a Fair Recovery’

22 July, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly hosted a public meeting on Tuesday 21st July entitled “Cavan Fighting Back- Defending Rural Ireland and its communities”. The meeting covered some themes specific to the area which are prominent on the public agenda including agriculture, water charges, employment and investment, and the decimation of local services. Guest speaker at the meeting was MEP for Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, who provided a political narrative and an update on his work on these issues at EU level. Jerry Fitzpatrick, a member of the Cavan Public Participation Network gave an update of how local communities are being affected.

Speaking at the meeting, Senator Reilly said it was an important time for such a public meeting given the volatility of the local economy and the effect it was having on local communities and services. 

Senator Reilly said:

“Cavan has had enough. We have seen job losses in huge numbers and no creation of meaningful employment or investment from this government. Recent job loss and redundancy announcements in Cavan and the wider area will have a crippling effect on families, businesses and communities. There has not been enough interest expressed by IDA in recent times to bring investment in.

“We have been neglected and targeted with cruel austerity measures, unfair water charges, cuts to services, cuts to welfare payments. Fine Gael and Labour have targeted careers, the unemployed, the young, the elderly, and lone parents to name but a few.

“Farmers and those associated with the agriculture industry have also suffered. Small farmers, the backbone of rural communities, have been under extreme pressure to stay in business.

“There has been much talk of a recovery and this has been the Government mantra for the past few months. Indeed, it will be their political platform for the next few months which will see another Budget and likely a general election. However, the reality is that there is a two tier economy and there is a two tier recovery. The homeless, those on social welfare, those on low incomes are simply being left behind.

“This meeting is about setting out what we see as our priorities for and to start a debate about the future, about what type of society we want to live in, about equality, and the type of recovery we want.

“The type of recovery Sinn Féin wants to see for Cavan, and Ireland, is based on the right to decent work for decent pay; access to first class public services; affordable childcare; abolition of water charges and making the tax system fair; addressing the housing crisis; etc.”

Addressing the crowd, Jerry Fitzpatrick noted that after the economic crisis, a fair recovery was needed more than ever:

“The recession and economic crisis exacerbated inequalities in our society. The last two Governments presided over brutal cutbacks in community supports at precisely the times communities needed these supports and assistance. We now need to join in a collective community fightback.”

MEP for Midlands North West Matt Carthy addressed the crowd and answered questions relating to dairy farmers, job creation and supports for entrepreneurs and start-ups:

“The lack of an appropriate level of broadband, the lack of investment in infrastructure, the lack of a coordinated effort to create jobs and protect public services in rural areas has led to a decline in our rural population and the decimation of rural communities.

“We have to remember- the numbers emigrating to Australia or Canada might not be as high but we all know that its not the Ballyjamesduffs or Cavans or Ballyconnells of this island that young people are flocking to for jobs, its Dublin, Cork, Galway. We need to ensure jobs are created in our towns. A fair recovery is about a fair and equal quality of life. It is ensuring people have jobs in their communities.

“Sinn Féin is standing with communities fighting to retain services in health and education and to propose alternatives to the harsh austerity measures of the current and previous government. We need to protect services, create jobs and protect our communities. Sinn Féin’s Fair Recovery campaign and our alternative budget later this year will put forward ways to do this without targeting those who have already suffered.”

On the problems facing the dairy industry, Carthy referred to his work on the European Agricultural and Rural Development Committee:

“Much of the positive predications of what the post-quota era would mean for Milk farmers have abated in recent times. It is clear that many in the Dairy sector are finding the increasing price volatility difficult to manage and if action is not taken many small farmers will be forced out of the sector. I have called consistently called for an increase in the intervention price and I had proposed an amendment to the Dairy Package Report, which would set the intervention price at 27c per litre.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues on the European Agricultural and Rural Development Committee to press the European Commission to act in a meaningful way to address the difficulties facing dairy farmers and ensure the sector thrives into the future.” 

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