Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht Department gets another makeover – Tóibín
Speaking after the government announced another name change at the now-Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department’s third manifestation in just over a year, Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson Peadar Tóibín said that
The Meath West TD said:
“In May 2016, the government announced the addition of Regional and Rural responsibilities into the existing Arts Committee in response to the critical regional and rural crisis that came to the boil during the 2016 election. This was a cosmetic exercise as none of the necessary responsibilities and budgets were transferred to the new department.
“Seventeen months under the new government and the damaging economic chasm that exists between the east and west of this small island is deepening further. We are without a spatial plan since 2002. Population and economic activity is thinning over vast areas of the west and an over concentrating around a handful of counties mostly on the east coast. This is to the cost of citizens in both regions.
“Dublin’s dominance is far out of kilter. There is a significant danger that we are heading towards being a city state surrounded by a large national park.
“The promise of necessary transport and communications infrastructure such as Broadband is being pushed out further while real cuts to the delivery of state services in rural areas are happening now.
“Agriculture which remains the back bone of rural areas is on its knees. According to Teagasc, only 37% of farmers are economically sustainable. The Leader Programme which is designed to help small businesses and local communities is practically being ground to a halt by bureaucracy with 18 stages of decision before funding is granted.
“We are being promised a new Regional and Community Department. The question remains will we see real budgets and responsibilities transferred or simply another inter-departmental turf war?”