Sinn Féin TD Violet-Anne Wynne for Clare has called on TDs to back the party’s motion in the Dáil to stand up for rural communities and ensure they receive fair and balanced investment from government.
The motion was debated in the Dáil this week and calls on the government to:
– introduce a statutory requirement for all government departments and public bodies to undertake rural impact assessments on their work
– provide clarity on all projects in the National Development Plan, including funding and timescales
– Commit to delivering the Western Rail Corridor, a National Aviation Policy and key public transport policies
Speaking today, Teachta Wynne said:
“People living in towns, villages and rural communities have been dismissed by government for far too long. It’s time for rural Ireland to get the support it needs to thrive and reach its full potential.
“The National Development Plan was announced last month with glossy brochures and slick press conferences, but as is so often the case with this government, it has amounted to little more than a PR exercise which will not provide the investment our regions desperately need.
“Not only did it fail to help our towns, villages and rural communities, it actually rolled back on many previous commitments.
“Several road projects outlined in the National Development Plan have had their completion dates removed. There is now significant doubt about a number of road projects which are stated to be subject to approval. The failure to include a Western Rail Corridor was a missed opportunity.
“For Clare specifically the omission of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road is a devastating blow. This road has been spoken about and promised for more than 10 years since it first appeared in the Clare County National Development Plan 2005-2011.
“It would have allowed Clare folk to have clear, direct access to University of Limerick campus and all of the industrial estates to the East of the city.
“It would have decongested many roundabouts and offered a genuine example of investment balanced regional development. It would have been the Government putting their money where their mouth is – but that is obviously too much to ask.
“What we have seen instead is this Government reneging on long-promised commitments. It’s not just the long-cited LNDR that has somehow gone missing from the NDP – a grand total of 31 roads that were previously promised have also disappeared. That’s 31 communities nationwide left high and dry.
“This government has no vision for our towns, villages and rural communities. Their lack of commitment to balanced investment is clear for all to see in the National Development Plan.
“Sinn Féin is bringing this motion to stand up for our towns, villages and rural communities to ensure fair investment.
“The Cabinet are attempting to green-wash their incompetence in the name of ‘future-proofing’ but the people of Ireland know better. It’s all well and good to be talking about rail and sustainability but if capital expenditure isn’t matched with current expenditure – public transport will continue to be unaffordable, and the overwhelming majority of people will not be able to use it.
“What’s the point in expanding trainlines if no one can afford to use train? It’s this kind of short-sighted policy that shows how out of touch and lacking in common sense this Government really is.
“As we know in Clare, rural Ireland can be an incredible place to live, work and to raise a family but it needs to be given the supports necessary to thrive. The National Development Plan was scant on detail and void of ambition. It exposed how this government is out of touch, out of ideas and out of time.
“Sinn Féin’s motion is calling for fair, balanced development which means that rural Ireland is no longer left behind by this out of touch government. It is calling for clarity on the National Development Plan’s projects.
“It is long overdue that towns, villages and communities should have their fair share of investment and opportunities. Sinn Féin will stand up for our towns, villages and rural communities to ensure their voice is heard.”