February 25, 2022
“New CSO stats highlight rapidly escalating regional imbalance” – Chris MacManus MEP

“New CSO stats highlight rapidly escalating regional imbalance” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP says figures are indicative of government neglect of rural Ireland

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. Stats on disposable income show rising regional inequality in Ireland and the gap between the Northern & Western Region and the national average in 2020 is now estimated to be three times higher than it was a decade ago.

MacManus said: “Firstly I want to praise and thank the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) who are continually at the forefront in bringing this issue to the public. Every time the new CSO figures are released there is fresh cause for concern. These latest revelations highlight the level of state neglect people in our region are suffering.  The West, Northwest and border region makes up the majority of my constituency as an MEP and every day when I visit people in these counties I see regional inequality. The cost of Living crisis is taking its toll on people and the government are standing idly by.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP said a lack of key infrastructure investments in the region is devastating communities. “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.”

“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. We see banks closing or downgrading services every month. Add this to the insurance and mortgage rip offs, rising fuel costs, rising grocery costs. People are on the brink and the government don’t seem to realise.”

MacManus concluded, “The current approach to regional development needs to change urgently in order to ensure that rural Ireland 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.nwra.ie/news/new-cso-data-shows-regional-inequality-in-ireland-continues-to-rise/

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