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Ferris - Western Development Commission report confirms continuing decline of rural areas

15 June, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Rural Development, Martin Ferris TD has said that a report published today by the Western Development Commission confirms what many people have been saying regarding the continuing problems facing rural communities, particularly in the west of the country. The report claims that many such communities continued to experience disadvantage.

Deputy Ferris said: “This report backs up the evidence of many observers who are witnessing the continued depopulation and decline of many rural communities despite a period of unprecedented official prosperity. The declining numbers of family farms, and the lack of alternative employment as well as the withdrawal of public services is contributing to this problem. While it might be argued that this is an inevitable consequence of growth that is not a position that most of us would be prepared to stand over.

“The massive expansion of the larger cities and towns is not a good thing, either for the residents of urban areas, or for the balanced development of  the country in general. It is therefore incumbent upon the state to ensure that rural communities are not allowed die. This requires that a proper strategy for agriculture and rural employment is in place, and that rather than sitting back and allowing such communities to undergo inevitable decline, that there be a proactive policy to encourage a more balanced development that would see people attracted into rural communities rather than forced to leave.” ENDS

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