Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has slammed the Labour Party’s plan for rural Ireland, saying that it fully exposes Labour’s lack of interest in rural towns.  The Galway West TD says the policy is an “insult to people living in rural areas”

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “It is clear from the Labour plan that the party wants to denude the rural countryside of its population and force everyone to live in major towns or cities.  This implication is evident in the detail of the plan.

“Labour claims it will invest capital spending in “key growth centres” where there is major population growth potential. Considering that the CSO is predicting that the Greater Dublin Area will account for 65% of total population growth by 2031, this commitment rings hollow. Rural parishes will continue to be left behind as secondary priority as currently the case.

“There is nothing specific in Labour’s plan on the numbers of new Gardaí they will introduce, nothing concrete on increasing the rural GP allowance; nothing on extending the DSP contract with An Post, and nothing on restoring the pupil student ratio in small schools.

“It is beyond belief that there is not one mention of improving mobile phone coverage in the entire document.

“In contrast, Fianna Fáil has a detailed policy laying out practical solutions to immediately improve the lives of rural dwellers in terms of service provision, infrastructure and employment opportunities”.

The key policy commitments outlined in our “Manifesto for Rural Ireland” include

– Reinstating a senior rural ministry and introduce a community services guarantee
– Provide top quality infrastructure roads, water, sewerage
– Restore the pupil teacher ratio in small schools & improve school transport services
– Provide universal fibre broadband and mobile phone coverage

“This anti-rural Government is continuing to leave rural parishes behind with a total absence of political action. In contrast, Fianna Fáil believes in an Ireland for all. Our rural manifesto is a real action plan which will get things done on the ground, while the Fine Gael and Labour’s rural charter is a plan to make more plans”.