This week’s announcement of funding through the Town and Village Renewal Scheme is nothing but as publicity stunt.
That’s the view offered by Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy who adds that he welcomes the “belated” acknowledgement of the problems being experienced in rural Ireland, but he quickly rubbishes the move saying it’s a drop in the ocean:
“This scheme goes nowhere near addressing the needs of rural Ireland and will be seen by many communities as a mere publicity stunt.
“I welcome this belated Government acknowledgement that urgent and special attention is needed for rural communities following the absolute devastation felt by them over the past decade. However, this announcement will be seen by many of those communities as nothing more than a publicity stunt. €380,000 per county will go nowhere towards addressing the problems that exist in rural Ireland.”
Carthy (pictured), says “Donegal, Mayo and Sligo have all witnessed decreases in population while several other rural counties have stagnant growth rates.
“It is clear that there is a difficulty in keeping young people in these rural areas anymore. A genuine strategy with meaningful commitments is what is now needed to tackle issues faced by rural areas.
“This requires proposals to address the gaps in infrastructural development, job creation and public services in those areas that need the most support.
“Sinn Féin has been calling for a focus on creating employment in rural towns through imposing an obligation on enterprise development agencies to do so. There must be an end to the closure of vital local services such as post offices, libraries and garda stations and end end to upward only rents for small businesses.
“These are some of the elements of a genuine approach to tackling the problems of rural Ireland as opposed to gimmicks. While all available funding will be gladly seized by communities it will not be enough to address the real needs of rural Ireland,” he said.