Carol Nolan TD
Offaly TD and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Community and Rural Affairs, Carol Nolan TD, has said that the Department of Community and Rural Affairs must be given the power to address the needs of rural communities if the Taoiseach is to have any credibility with rural voters.
Teachta Nolan said: “The policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have decimated rural communities – we have seen the downgrading of public services; towns and villages have been abandoned and young people have been left with no choice but to leave to secure work opportunities."
“The neglect of rural Ireland and the regional imbalance that exists affects every citizen in this state as unprecedented pressure is put on services in urban areas, which have not been designed to cope with the level of demand that exists," she added.
“Sinn Féin welcomes the establishment of a new Minister for Community and Rural Affairs. We believe this presents a genuine opportunity for the Government to work towards addressing this regional imbalance in a coordinated manner."
Nolan continued to say that the Government must ensure the new Department is "not just an edifice but a properly functioning department with the powers and resources to adequately tackle the issues affecting rural Ireland."
“A successful rural economy requires investment in infrastructure, public services, communications, housing and education and the new department must be in a position to make this happen," she claimed strongly.
She is calling on the Taoiseach and the new Minister for Community and Rural Affairs to immediately clarify their plans for the new Department in terms of the functions of the new Minister and the anticipated budget of the Department.
“This is the first test of the new Taoiseach’s commitment to rural Ireland and he must ensure that this Department has teeth if he is to have any credibility with rural citizens," Nolan concluded.
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