Policy proofing key to rural regeneration – Ó Clochartaigh
Sinn Féin spokesperson on the West and rural development Trevor Ó Clochartaigh TD has called for rural proofing and a new spatial strategy to kick-start rural regeneration. Speaking at the launch of the party’s ‘New Deal for the West’ document Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
“For too long the West of Ireland has been the victim of government inertia and indifference.
“When it comes to regional development, successive governments have totally neglected the West and pushed rural communities to the margins.
“The end result of such Dublin centric policy is regional uneven development, rural depopulation, and the erosion of key public services.
“Unless this process is halted the West will resemble a sparsely populated national park where bureaucrats and middle class urbanites go, to ‘get away’ from it all.
“Sinn Féin believes meaningful and sustainable development requires a fundamental shift in policies and practice in relation to the West.
“Rural proofing is a key tool in ensuring the interests of rural dwellers are to the forefront of all policy decisions.
“In terms of public service provision rural proofing would ensure rural communities had decent public transport, access to health care, housing, decent schools, post offices and Garda stations.
“In government Sinn Féin will enact legislation to put rural proofing on a statutory basis.
“We will introduce a new deal for towns and villages and work to create sustainable employment and socio-economic regeneration that puts people first.
“Sinn Féin has a vision for a thriving and vibrant West of Ireland where rural livelihoods are valued, protected and sustained.
“Redressing decades of underdevelopment requires targeted action and a long-term commitment to the future of rural Ireland.”