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Ó Clochartaigh ‘critical of Government plans for small towns and villages’

9 August, 2016

Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson on Rural & Regional Affairs Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has criticised as wholly inadequate the Government plan to revitalise small towns and villages.

“The figure of €10 million announced in the government’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme today is nowhere near sufficient to address the historical neglect of rural towns and villages. This is purely a cosmetic exercise to spruce up neglected rural areas.

“If the Government were serious about reversing the decline in rural towns and villages, it would be working to ensure universal access to healthcare, education and broadband services.

“The total figure amounts to just €380,000 per county. This is an insult to local authorities who have been starved of resources, staff and funding in recent years. This announcement will do very little to counter act that trend.

“A proper review of rates and upward only rents, retention of existing schools, doctors’ surgeries and transport services are key to persuading people to remain in small towns and villages and to contribute to the local economy.

“The government need to be bringing an action plan forward in that regard such as Sinn Féin’s ‘New Deal for the West’ proposal which takes a comprehensive look at what is really needed to maintain and revitalise rural towns and villages.

“Today’s announcement once more shows a complete lack of understanding and vision from the government for rural Ireland and proves that they must try much harder if they are to effect real change.” 

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