Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Cllr. Pearse Doherty speaking on motion 141

18 February, 2006

A chairde, anyone looking at County Donegal and the northwest in general, can clearly see the outworking of the failed government policies that have been at there core partitionist based, these failed policies have ignored the logic and benefits of all Ireland development in areas such as health, transport and education.

The result of this has left counties such as Donegal with an 18% unemployment rate which is over 4 times the national average, a county that has more patients on hospital trolleys that any other county outside of Dublin, these policies have left the people of Donegal 90% more at risk of living in poverty that any other part of this state, and have left 72,896 people in Donegal dependant on primary welfare payments. Unfortunately a chairde, similar statistics are all two familiar in other bordering counties, which have ensured that the North West is the most economically disadvantaged area in the country.

Partition has failed. Two health systems, two education departments, two transport departments and all the duplication of all the other services on this island just doesn't make sense. The delivery of services on an all Ireland basis clearly creates the opportunity for significant savings in removing the unnecessary cost of administering two different regions.

We know in Sinn Féin that it is only through a United Ireland that can guarantee that all of these issues are effectively addressed. But by promoting, developing and investing in all Ireland approaches we can bring immediate benefit to the people of this island while at the same time eradicating the political basis of partition.

I challenge this government to ensure the positive redistribution of resources to eradicate poverty and social exclusion by investing on an all-Ireland basis in Health, Education and infrastructure.

It is unacceptable that the North West region has no access to adequate cancer care service. It is unacceptable that the North West is the only region in this island that will not have a motorway connecting it to Dublin. It is unacceptable that it is the Ulster counties of Donegal Fermanagh, Tyrone, Cavan and Monaghan that are the only counties in the country without a rail service.

This Government has time and time again shown no commitment to tackling the problems of this region and their recent transport 21 plan is further proof of that.

A Chairde, we have had enough of lip service from government ministers, enough rhetoric and enough promises, enough task forces and enough feasibility studies. It is time for action, It is time for investment, It is time to deliver on the all Ireland agenda.

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