Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher has slammed the government in their approach to border counties and called for further funding from Europe to prevent against regional imbalance in the north east and west.   

Senator Gallagher commented, “EUROSTAT have confirmed that funding to Ireland will still operate under three different categories post 2020.  However, what is of concern is that we in the border region have been recategorised into a region in transition. A downgrade from our previous title as a development region.

“While this is bad news and a reflection on regressive Fine Gael policy which has ignored rural Ireland, there is an opportunity here. There is an opportunity for the regional assembly to address the Fine Gael legacy of underinvestment with increased EU Exchequer funding post-2020. It is vitally important that the regions take, and continue to have, control over the allocation of funds.

“More funding streams are available for the border region and the government must ensure this funding is ring fenced for Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Sligo, and Leitrim.

“I understand the Minister of State’s Department is conducting a review of the delivery of European investment funds to the regions with a view to, perhaps, removing responsibility from the regional assemblies to a centralised system. That would be a serious backward step. I trust the Minister will ensure that funding will be available to our region and its implementation decided by those within the border counties,” concluded Senator Gallagher.