East West divide demands action
Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has said that the findings of the DSD Family Resources Urban Rural Survey published today demand action.
Mr Doherty said:
"This report sets out, in stark terms, the reality of poverty in the West and the Rural West in particular. Across almost every indicator the West and especially the Rural West does badly. Three out of ten households in the Rural West are in the lowest income band.
"Similar reports in the 26 counties also highlight unacceptable levels of poverty in the North West.
"The reality is that the entire North West of Ireland, both urban and rural, face low incomes and high levels of benefit dependency. One in four households in the Rural West are on Housing benefit. This is an indication of the risk of poverty.
"The Rural West has a high level of 'work poverty' and the lowest proportion of men in any type of employment and the lowest average weekly incomes. They also have the lowest levels of investment in infrastructure and unequal economic development assistance as highlighted in the shocking annual reports of Invest NI.
"This demands co-ordinated action by both the British and Irish governments. This is just the latest in a long line of reports that show that the Rural West and North West are suffering from the consequences of under investment. It is a problem exasperated by the negative impact of the border.
"A response requires greater harmonisation of the work of Invest NI and the IDB, and a greater cohesion between the Regional Development Strategies on an all-Ireland basis. But a successful response to these latest findings that show the extent of poverty in the West is the political will to challenge the polices and investment strategies of government departments that have created the situation in the first place." ENDS