Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry says the latest report from the Western Development Commission highlights the need for the government to wake up to the potential of the North West region and to devise a coherent strategy for the region.

The report confirms Fianna Fáil assertions that there has been “limited change” over a long period of time and calls for “very strong policy intervention to effect change”.

Deputy Mac Sharry commented, “The Western Development Commission is merely confirming what people in the North West have known for years – this region has massive potential; a third level institution, a well-educated workforce and an idyllic geographical location which provides the opportunity for a good work-life balance.

“The report points to lower commuting times and a young workforce in Sligo, further strengthening the pitch for greater investment in the area.

“Successive WDC reports have highlighted the benefits of this region, but year after year, successive Fine Gael governments have refused to commit investment, preferring instead to focus on Dublin and the commuter counties.  This has exacerbated the two-tier economy and is one of the factors that is driving younger people out of the west.

“The government’s National Planning Framework was launched to much fanfare in Sligo in February.  Since then, apart from the government becoming embroiled in a scandal over the roll-out of its covert advertising campaign, very little has happened.  As with so many plans and strategies announced by this government, the focus is very much on spin rather than delivery.

“This report cannot be the latest in a series of reports which are ignored by Fine Gael.   We need to see tangible action.  The NPF was high on aspiration.  All that matters to people living in the North West is delivery”.