Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne has responded to the launch of another Fine Gael internet campaign telling voters what a great job the party is doing.

This time, the campaign tries to convince the Irish people that this Government is ‘standing up for rural Ireland’.  Senator Byrne has slammed the campaign as “ludicrous” and said that was insulting to people’s intelligence in County Meath.

Senator Byrne said: “We have long known that this Fine Gael / Labour coalition is a Government of spin and broken promises, but the attempt to spin their record as representing an effort to stand up for rural Ireland is one PR gimmick too many and represents a grotesque distortion of the facts.  This Government has launched one attack on rural Meath after another.

“Ironically, as the FG campaign video starts with a video of a bus driving, Fine Gael has removed or proposed to significantly reduce public transport throughout rural Meath such as; the Moynalvey route which is gone, the Rathdrinagh route to Navan and Drogheda which is gone and the Batterstown route and the 109 service on the old N3 which are mostly for the chop. Bus services have been decimated in rural County Meath.

“The Fine Gael-Labour coalition has an abysmal record when it comes to investment in rural Ireland, choosing instead to target and cut resources to smaller communities.  Since it was formed, the Government has

  • set about dismantling and defunding Meath Leader company, which brings much needed investment into rural communities.  No Leader funding is available currently
  • Ironically as the FG campaign video starts with a video of a bus, they have removed or proposed significantly reduced public transport throughout rural Meath such as Moynalvey, Batterstown, Rathdrinagh and services along the old N3
  • made significant negative changes to the Farm Assist Scheme and the Rural Social Scheme, both of which were set up by the previous Government
  • Imposed overhead pylons in County Meath while new technology is available for underground lines for Mayo
  • Facilitated and encouraged monster wind farm proposals in rural heritage areas
  • increased class sizes significantly in small rural national schools throughout rural Meath
  • closed rural Garda Stations such as Kilmessan and taken rural Gardaí from local communities
  • reduced funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta and abolished democratic elections to the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
  • abolished the CLÁR programme that brought so much vital infrastructure to dispersed rural communities and which specifically benefitted a very rural part of North Meath
  • Have left rural roads in an appalling state and have asked for payment from residents for fixing of rural lanes despite the introduction of property tax

“The misrepresentation of this appalling record as an effort to stand up for rural Ireland is deeply insulting to the intelligence of the people of Meath and will convince no one.”