Taoiseach shows his bias towards the East – Kenny
Speaking in his constituency today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Affairs Martin Kenny TD said that an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s action in blocking EU funding for infrastructural projects in the West and North West showed his bias towards the Eastern region of the country.
Teachta Kenny, who represents Sligo, Leitrim, North Roscommon and South Donegal, said:
“The revelations in today’s Irish Times that in 2011, then-Transport Minister Leo Varadkar blocked EU funding for infrastructural projects in the West and North-West, proves the intention of this and previous governments to concentrate economic growth and development in the Eastern region and allow the rest to die of neglect.
“The upgrade of roads and rail network, that has been long recognised by community and business groups as vital to the sustainably of the regions, were removed from the plans and blame directed toward the EU. This is a scandalous revelation and all the spin and communications units in overdrive will not hide this betrayal of rural regions by the Taoiseach and his cabinet.
“In the Programme for Government, there is a commitment to seek a review of the Irish Ten-T projects by the EU, within the first three months of government, but this was not done.
“Under Ten-T funding for major transport projects, which have a positive carbon reduction impact, can be in excess of 50% and up to 75%, yet the government refused to use this opportunity to invest in rural regions.
“I asked the Taoiseach, some weeks ago, why the western rail project was not included in the much-publicised Plan 2040 and he told me it didn’t meet some cost-to-benefit survey that was carried out. I say this is more spin.
“A freight and passenger western rail project would open up the parts of the country with most potential for development and take goods to ports in the South of the country which export directly to European markets.
“The time has come for a real change in direction with investment in the ports, airports, roads, modern rail and broadband along the West and the midlands and across the border. This episode shows that the finances can be found and all professional analysis shows that the return to the economy would be enormous leading to sustainable social balance.”