Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary says the Government needs to get its head in the game when it comes to regional development.  Despite a series of promises about investment in rural Ireland, a key infrastructure project in Co. Mayo is still awaiting Government approval.

Deputy Calleary commented, “Fine Gael is still failing to get to grips with the importance of regional development, despite numerous warnings from a range of business organisations, economic think tanks and even the Department of Finance.  With the prospect of Brexit on the horizon, it has never been more important to invest in projects which will create sustainable jobs and support industry in the regions.

“Unfortunately this Government is continuing to drag its heels when it comes to strategic investment west of the Shannon.  More than two years after applying to the then Department of Environment to develop a Strategic Development Zone at Ireland West Airport Knock, Mayo County Council are still waiting to hear back from Minister Simon Coveney.  This is a ridiculous situation.

“This is an application, which has the potential to create jobs and bring new companies and industry to Co. Mayo.  Why the Government is delaying on the project is beyond me.  In his reply to me, Minister Simon Coveney claims he is engaging “with the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport in relation to this matter, including in relation to related issues concerning wider aviation and land use policy and landside development at airports in general”.  This sounds like nothing more than a delaying tactic and it completely unacceptable.

“Minister Coveney must stop stalling on this vital infrastructural opportunity.  He needs to shift his focus away from the cities and start concentrating on revitalising rural areas, which have been left behind by his Government.  This project has huge potential and is the shot in the arm that Mayo needs to regenerate the region”.