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McGill believes ‘Rural Affairs Taskforce’ Essential

21 February, 2007

West Tyrone Sinn Féin Assembly Election Candidate Claire Mc Gill believes that the creation of a Rural Affairs Task Force needs to be an urgent priority of the Assembly so as to counteract what she describes as the relentless onslaught by the NIO against the fabric that sustains our rural communities.

Cllr Mc Gill said:

"We presently have 11 NIO departments formulating and implementing policies which impact upon every aspect of our lives yet not one of these policies is being rural proofed.

"The reason why policies across the 11 Departments are not being rural proofed is very clear i.e. because the infrastructure and services needed to sustain rural communities are firmly in the sights of the British Exchequer's strategy to extract as much financial savings as possible from the six counties through forcing as many people as possible into urban settings and so increasingly centralise infrastructure and services.

"The imposition of Rural Planning Policy PPS 14 is part of this strategy as is the onslaught against our rural schools, health facilities and services, post offices and other crucial services, not to mention the perennial lack of investment in rural road, sewage and water infrastructure.

"The British Exchequer's strategy is being administered by the NIO agenda and fronted by the Direct Rule Ministers.

"The creation of a Rural Affairs Task Force, to counteract this onslaught against rural communities and the rural way of life that has existed for generations, must therefore be an urgent priority of the Assembly and its remit must be to devise policy recommendations that give equal weighting to the twin objectives of maintaining and vibrant rural communities while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability for this and future generations. ENDS

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