Sinn Féin Backs Rural Ireland – Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today visited the Ploughing Championships at Screggan, Tullamore, in County Offaly.
The Sinn Féin leader commended the organisers of this hugely important and unique all-Ireland event.
Teachta Adams warned of the dangers to rural Ireland posed by Brexit.
Deputy Adams said:
“Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour have long abandoned rural Ireland. Cuts have hit communities, families, public services and the local economy.
"Infrastructure has deteriorated affecting roads, broadband delivery and, most noticeably in recent times, flood protection. Garda stations have also been closed saving little money but leaving many elderly people living in fear.
"Gaeltacht communities have been marginalised in terms of services and facilities while the Irish language is not supported with resources and funding required to ensure its survival.
"All of this neglect has been amplified by the challenges we face as a result of Brexit, which is already having a significant impact on our agriculture and agri-food sectors.
"In January, Bord Bia in its annual Export Review and Prospects Report concluded that Brexit cost the Irish food and drink industry €570 million in 2016.
"In March an Oireachtas report by the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation called for designated special status for the North. The report also identifies agriculture as a sector under serious risk.
"Partition, and its legacy, has had a detrimental effect on the livelihoods of farmers – most notably in the areas of labeling for cattle, sheep and lambs.
"Now, there are very real fears that the prospect of a reinforced border will have devastating impact on farming communities, particularly on the counties that straddle that border. This is one reason why Sinn Féin argues for special designated status within the European Union for the North.
"Sinn Féin has the vision and the policies that will deliver a better future for Rural Ireland. These include:
- Rural equality legislation to end the discrimination against rural areas.
- The development of a new enterprise spatial strategy to rectify the imbalance in economic development.
- Substantial investment in broadband, communications and I.T.
- Investment in transport infrastructure based on the needs of rural citizens’ needs rather than crude profitability measures.
- A Charter of Rights for Farmers
- A good deal for fishing and coastal communities."