February 26, 2021
“CSO stats highlight Governments’ neglect of Midlands Northwest” – Chris MacManus MEP

“CSO stats highlight Governments’ neglect of Midlands Northwest” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has expressed concern at new data released this week by the CSO which showed disposable incomes of people in the Northern and Western Region of the State to be well below the State average. He argues that major infrastructural investment is needed for the region to address this gap. 

MacManus said:

“This data released by the CSO contains a number of worrying trends for people living in the Northern and Western Region of the State, which is comprised of Connacht, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan. Average disposable income in this region is now €3869 lower than the State average. This is a large increase on the figure of €1241 recorded in 2009 showing that the gap has widened significantly in the past number of years. In fact, the gap has increased every single year since 2010. The large majority of counties in the Midlands Northwest constituency bar a couple of counties commutable of the capital have completely fallen behind through State neglect. In several counties, including Cavan, Leitrim, Roscommon and Galway disposable incomes have actually fallen since 2009. This is in stark contrast to counties on the east coast of the country where incomes haven risen significantly, both in value and in relation to the State average.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP said “This is yet another report indicating that our region is suffering and declining at a rapid pace. While other parts of the country have recovered somewhat from the financial crash of 2008, our region has stagnated and there has not been any increase in the quality of life of our people since then. Given this two-tier economy it is little wonder that the EU has recently classified the Northern and Western region as a region ‘in transition’, meaning we’re going backwards.”

MacManus said urgent government intervention is necessary. “The only thing that will reverse this decline is major investment in infrastructure and public services. The Western Rail Corridor is a prime example of an infrastructural project that would bring enormous benefits to communities across the West and North-West in terms of tourism, industry and employment. Yet the Government have made no effort to have the West and North-West restored to the TEN-T Core Network which would allow the project to be co-financed by Europe, which indicates that they are not serious about the project.”

“Our post office network, which is on the brink of collapse, is a crucial asset to communities and economic activity across our region and is in need of urgent support from the Government, in the form of a PSO, increased financial services or otherwise. The closure of more of our post offices would be yet another nail in the coffin of our region and rural Ireland.”

The Sinn Féin MEP had particular mention for failed Fine Gael and Fianna Fail policy, “The Dublin-focused policies of the Fine Gael Governments of the last decade have clearly failed and under this current Government look set to continue. Our communities are not being listened to or empowered to change our fortunes. The Government decision to relocate the administration of 350M in EU funding from the Northern and western Regional Assembly to a department desk in Dublin in September last year is further evidence of our communities being ignored.”

MacManus concluded, “The current approach to regional development needs to change urgently in order to ensure that this part of the country has a viable future. These CSO Statistics demonstrate that clearly and show the urgency of the situation. The Government must act before it is too late.” ENDS

Note to editor:

Link to CSO Data: https://www.cso.ie/en/csolatestnews/presspages/2021/countyincomesandregionalgdp2018/

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