October 11, 2023
“Action not words needed from Fine Gael to address Regional Imbalance” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Action not words needed from Fine Gael to address Regional Imbalance” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has said that actions, not words are needed from Fine Gael and their elected representatives to address the issue of regional imbalance. The Midlands Northwest representative was reacting to comments made by his constituency colleague Maria Walsh MEP, highlighting the neglect of the Northern and Western region, comprised of Connacht, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.

MEP MacManus said:

“It is welcome that some in Fine Gael are finally realising the extent of the regional inequalities that exist in this State and the impact that this is having on communities across the West and Northwest. I note that MEP Walsh has also publicly expressed support for the Western Rail Corridor for the first time, a project that has been long-fingered by Fine Gael for many years.”

“Ultimately, without concrete action from the Government these words ring hollow. Fine Gael have been in power for 12 years and their policies and neglect of this region have led to the challenges we now face. The EU’s downgrading of our region to being one ‘in transition’ and ‘lagging’ is confirmation of this.”

“The most recent figures from 2020 show that the average disposable income per person in the Northern and Western Region was €20378, €3237 lower than the State average of €23615. This is a large increase, in fact three times higher, than the gap of €1136 recorded in 2010. This gap highlights the declining living standards relative to the rest of the State for our region under Fine Gael.”

“However, the 2022 EU Regional Competitiveness Index, which found that the Northern and Western region is lagging well behind the other Irish regions and that we are suffering from an infrastructure deficit, referenced by MEP Walsh, was rubbished by Minister Simon Coveney on Galway Bay FM shortly after its publication. Similarly in the Dáil Tánaiste Leo Varadkar recently dismissed the challenges facing the north west in response to questions from Mary Lou McDonald.”

“Fine Gael are talking out of both sides of their mouth on this issue. Rather than writing press releases, MEP Walsh’s time would be better spent engaging with her party leadership and explaining the challenges facing our region and the urgency of addressing these problems. We need action, not words from Fine Gael if we are to finally address these long-standing issues.” ENDS


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