Irish Rural Link – the national network representing the interest of rural communities is disappointed at the lack of investment targeted at rural areas as a result of this budget.
In its submission to Government Irish Rural Link documented the fact that rural towns and villages have suffered hugely as a result of the economic down turn and require immediate prioritisation.
It highlighted the emigration reality facing most households and regards the cut in dole to young people as a major blow.
According to Irish Rural Link Chief Executive Seamus Boland “The threat of emigration of young people away from rural communities, puts in jeopardy the very future of those areas.”
Irish Rural Link is also calling on Government to examine the consequences of dropping the telephone subsidy, especially for older people living in isolated areas.
The phone has become a lifeline for many. As well as providing the security of communications, it also acts as a means of fighting off extreme loneliness often experienced by people living alone.
Irish Rural Link will continue to call on the Government to develop a white paper which addresses rural development in terms of the economic and social well being of these areas.
Such a paper would address the future of rural areas and ensure that governments would have a specific rural and regional development plan.
In summary the budget, which is responsible for an overall cut of €2.5 billion, will disadvantage rural areas at a time when they need investment.