Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív says the amalgamation of Galway City and County Councils would be a retrograde step.  He claims the interim report from the Expert Advisory Group clearly indicates that rural parts of Galway, like the Gaeltacht and the Islands, would suffer as a result of the move.

Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “While this report extols the benefits of the establishment of an economic development unit within a new city and county structure, and discusses the possibility of linking in with IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the third level education institutions, it completely ignores the Gaeltacht area.

“Galway has the largest Gaeltacht in the country, but section 3.1.3 of the report – which focuses on economic development – completely ignores the Gaeltacht, the islands and Údarás na Gaeltachta.  The Gaeltacht is a major driver of employment and economic growth in this area, but the Expert Advisory Group completely overlooks the region and its potential to benefit the city and the county.

“It is becoming ever more clear that the whole philosophy behind this proposal is to move everything to the city centre – in line with this Government’s tunnel visioned spatial strategy.  Minister Coveney and his cabinet colleagues appear unable to see any potential beyond the major cities.

“Galway City and Council Councils need to work in a more efficient, effective and cohesive manner, but that does not mean setting up a new authority to span the entire area from the Shannon to Inishbofin.  This will not work.

“I am calling on the Government to abandon this proposal – as it has in Cork – because it is not in the best interests of the region or the people living here”.