Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Tyrone says NO to Rural Planning Dictate-Mc Elduff

19 May, 2006


West Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA Barry Mc Elduff says that the strength of opposition to Rural Planning guidelines (PPS 14) was clearly evident after 200 people turned up at a public meeting organised by the party at the Dún Uladh Centre in Omagh last night.

The meeting, the latest in a series of such public meetings Sinn Féin is holding throughout the north was chaired by Barry Mc Elduff and addressed by local MP Pat Doherty, the Chair of Omagh District Council Mickey Mc Anespie, Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Clarke, and Damien Mc Gennity, Co-ordinator of the Working Group set up by Sinn Féin to fight the proposals.

Following the meeting Barry Mc Elduff said,

 "At themeeting, speaker after speaker outlined the disastrous consequences for every aspect of rural life if the DRD gets its way and imposes these punitive Rural Planning Guidelines in their current format.

"After listening to the debate and the disastrous implications for the cohesion of rural communities one man said to me that these Rural Planning Guidelines are akin to rural genocide and I would have to agree.

"Therefore the "Competency" of those within the Department of Regional Development (DRD) who have imposed this dictate even before a consultation has taken place must be called into question.  It is clear that PPS 14 is a solo run by the DRD given that it contradicts not only EU policy but also the policy direction of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department of Environment.

"Lord Rooker's replacement David Cairns has now responsibility for DRD, DARD and the DoE so when Sinn Féin's five MP's meet with him shortly they will be challenging him to withdraw these disastrous solo run proposals and in a joined up approach between these departments bring forward proposals which can strike the right balance between environmental sustainability and protection of the way of life.

"Given that from March 16th of this year it was decreed by Lord Rooker that PPS 14 would supersede all previous Rural Planning Guidelines, there will be much cynicism about the genuineness of DRD's subsequent consultation process.

"However, already over 2,000 people have made submissions to the consultation and last night we appealed for every sector of the rural community and every individual who feels strongly about the issue to make their views known to the DRD before the 9th June.

"As well as public meetings throughout the north, Sinn Féin has met the Ulster Council of the GAA, the Rural Development Council to name but a few and our own consultations will help in the formulation of our own submission to the Consultation Process as well as help shape our alternative proposals.

"From last night's meeting it is clear that there is a determination to face down these draconian proposals and along with the community we will be pulling out every stop between now and the 9th June to make sure this is the case.  ENDS

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