Donegal would fare better if it were part of the United Kingdom, John Taylor, the former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party has claimed.
Speaking on Ocean FM he said he was "certain" Donegal would be better off if it were part of the UK. He said population figures for counties Tyrone and Fermanagh were increasing, while the population in Donegal was in decline.
“I’ve seen the population in Donegal dwindle since 1921. It’s down nearly only half of what it was at the time of partition. Many of the people of Donegal have moved back into the United Kingdom, into the northwest or into Glasgow.”
He said the people in Tyrone and Fermanagh and elsewhere in Northern Ireland were better off, but Cllr Micheal Colm Mac Giolla Easbuig, a member of Donegal County Council, on the programme to debate with Mr Taylor, challenged this claim, saying there was widespread deprivation and poverty in parts of Derry, Tyrone and Fermanagh and elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
Donegal would benefit from the "block rent that we already enjoy in Northern Ireland, £10 billion a year we get,” Lord Kilclooney stated. He added: “Oh I’m certain it would because it would benefit from the block rent from London that we already enjoy in Northern Ireland, £10 billion a year we get.”
Mr Taylor said that Dublin’s government “ignores Donegal”. “The history of Donegal since 1921 is desperate," Lord Kilclooney said. Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig said on that point he agreed with Mr Taylor when he said Donegal was ignored by Dublin.
Mr Taylor added that he loved Donegal, was a regular visitor and knew areas such as Rossnowlagh, Bundoran and Carrigart in the north of the county well. "Donegal is a beautiful county and I have often visited it," he said.