March 24, 2022
MacManus welcomes EU proposals on smart villages

MacManus welcomes EU proposals on smart villages

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has welcomed the European Parliament’s report regarding regional connectivity and smart villages. Speaking from Brussels, MacManus commented:

“The development of smart villages will be key to achieving Europe’s digital and green transition. The EU will be assisting with funding through a number of routes, including cohesion funding, the CAP and Next Generation EU funds.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP outlined the positives communities could benefit from, “The objective is to empower rural communities to find solutions that will reinforce their areas economic potential and social inclusion. We are already seeing projects get off the ground that have the potential to transform our society. The bio economy and ecotourism have not been sufficiently exploited.  These proposals should bring that much needed progress.”

“The pandemic has thought us that a huge section of our population can work if they are provided with a decent internet connection.  Working from home is one option but rural office hubs should also be available, for people who prefer the social aspect of working alongside others. High speed dependable broadband would be transformative to rural Ireland and would lead to an organic decentralisation of Ireland’s workforce.”

“Rural transport services should also be looked at. With fuel prices at an all-time high, electric vehicles have never made more sense. We could and should be looking at rural electricity generation schemes where some of the energy is used to power an electric bus for the area.”

“Looking at agriculture, smart precision farming will help farmers reduce their input costs and we could be looking at innovating in the way we sell their produce. Local areas could be creating online food markets, to cater to people who want to shop local. In terms of proving food quality, technologies like blockchain, a digital log book that provides farmers a way to prove their product, from farm to fork, is traceable and of high quality. “

“Each village and town will have its own set of circumstances, therefore approaches need to be tailor made. I think we should be starting these conversations now.”

MacManus concluded by outlining an optimistic future for rural Ireland if the correct leadership is forthcoming, “The revitalisation of rural areas will not only make Ireland a better place to live but help our planet, as people are no longer forced to commute to the cities. Sinn Féin believes a brighter future is possible for rural Ireland, but it will only come to pass if government policy embraces new ideas and financially supports communities to grow.” ENDS

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