Government’s rural TDs invisible as much of State ‘is relegated to a National Park’ – Tóibín
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Rural Affairs Peadar Tóibín has said today that rural TDs in Government have become completely invisible since being elected on the issue of the decline of rural Ireland which has rapidly accelerated under the watch of this Government, primarily as a result of government policy.
Deputy Tóibín was speaking in favour of Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny’s Rural Equality Bill 2017.
The Meath West TD said:
“Rural Ireland is in crisis. This state’s development is rudderless and without a spatial plan since 2002. Due to the policies of this Government, population and economic activity is over-concentrated on an overheating Dublin area.
“Dublin’s dominance is far out of kilter internationally. The Greater Dublin Area accounts for 39% of the State’s population and its heading towards 50%. There is a significant danger that we are heading towards simply being a city state.
“The decline of rural Ireland has rapidly accelerated under the watch of this Government, primarily as a result of government policy. According to An Post, 500 post offices are unsustainable. Teagasc stated that 63% of farms in the state are economically unsustainable. Per capita growth in the west is less than one quarter that of Dublin. Unemployment is nearly 3 times higher along the border than in Dublin.
“Broadband speeds are 36 times faster in Dublin than in certain regional areas where connectivity exists, and that is in areas where it exists at all. The North West quarter of the country is without rail line or motorway. Cork and Limerick are connected with single carriage road. The IDA has been pumping 60% of investment into the Dublin/Cork region.
“This is not an anti-Dublin debate. It makes no sense to overheat Dublin. House prices are rising, rents in Dublin are spiralling, there is persistent gridlock on motorways such as the M50, water shortages are continuously threatening leading to plans for pipelines from Parteen on the Shannon to Dublin City. These are issues that are already affecting hundreds and thousands of Irish people daily
“What is shocking to people outside Dublin is that rural TDs in Government have become completely invisible since being elected on this important issues. As my party colleague Deputy Martin Kenny’s Bill will seek to reduce socio-economic inequalities suffered by those in rural Ireland, it must be supported all in Leinster House.”