Taoiseach Leo Varadkar brought the Cabinet to Donegal on Thursday
Donegal TD Pearse Doherty said he believes such Thursday’s cabinet meeting in Donegal should have “been something of substance rather than for optics”.
The Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson blamed what he described as the failed economic and social policies of successive governments for causing many of the problems linked to inequality and deprivation which continue to affect the lives of people across Donegal.
“While I, of course, think it’s important that ministers come to the county and hold elements of government business outside of Dublin whenever the opportunity arises, I believe that such meetings need to be something of substance rather than for optics.
“Here in Donegal we know all too well of the many social and economic issues which exist here and which, for as long as any of us can remember, have plighted this region and have earned us the moniker of ‘the forgotten county’.
“Since the foundation of the state there has never been a period when neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil haven’t been in power and the effects of thefailed policies of both parties have had a devastating impact on Donegal and its people.
“And when we look at almost every possible metric which measures economic and social performance we here in Donegal remain an outlier.”
“Poverty continues to afflict the lives of ordinary people with census data having consistently identified communities across Donegal as having some of the highest levels of deprivation to found anywhere in the state.
“As a result emigration and outward migration have ravaged many of our towns and villages as is evidenced by the most recent census which shows that Donegal’s population fell by 1.2 per cent compared to 2011 with net migration recorded at -6,731during the same period.
“Donegal had one of the highest levels of people out of work according to the 2016 census which found that we had an unemployment rate of 18 per cent, far in excess of the state average.
“Similarly, Donegal remains the county with by far the largest share of population with primary education only, a full ten percentage points above the national average with the border region as a whole home home to the highest number of person who only have a basic primary level of education or no formal education at all with one in eight persons aged 25 to 64 years old falling within this category.”