Blaney Manifesto: Putting Donegal first

Published on: 15 May 2024

Senator Niall Blaney has said putting Donegal first in Europe is a central plank in his Manifesto for the county in next month’s European Election.


Senator Blaney, who addressed 150 people at a public meeting in Letterkenny, says the north west, border counties and the west of Ireland deserved MEPs prepared and able to fight on their behalf.


The Fianna Fail ‘border counties’ candidate said the MEP’s sent to Strasbourg in 2019 failed to put the needs of the entire region in a forceful, determined and single-minded manner.


Senator Blaney said: “Donegal barely rated a mention in the last European Parliament. We were invisible and that’s because of the abject failure of outgoing MEPs.


Farmers were treated as second-class citizens and that was wholly wrong and grossly unfair. I will have their backs in Europe and argue strongly for an extension of the Nitrates Derogation and be vocal in negotiations on a new CAP. I will seek to play a role on any EU Agriculture or Fisheries Committees to help support farmers and fishermen back home. 


Migration has to be confronted and solutions found. Our towns are bursting at the seams. Our public services, including health and schools, are stretched beyond capacity. Illegals who are here have to be processed without unnecessary delay to ease the pressure on our towns and villages. An aid package promised by Leo Varadkar last year to ease pinch points in population centres never materialised and that is unacceptable.


On infrastructure, Donegal must get special attention from the EU. We fought hard to get Directive One status in the naughties. We want to create a corridor from the border counties right across to the west to help us attract new investment and create high-value jobs. Having Objective One status should mean that our roads are upgraded and it is imperative we see investment in rail. 


“Our position in the EU ‘league table’ has slipped to a worrying level. Out of 234 designated regions in the EU, we sit at 218th for infrastructure. Our southern constituency In Ireland is Number Two in the EU. That’s close to the bottom on the Index alongside some of the poorest regions such as Romania and Bulgaria.
“We have been allowed to languish in the EU backwater long enough.


“I want to stop the brain drain. This can only be done by building the infrastructure that will truly make us an Objective One area. It’s only when we become more accessible will industries start taking us seriously and create the jobs that will keep our young people at home. That is nothing more than we deserve. 


“The 10 years of apathetic representation by MEPs who failed this constituency are over. Give me your Number 1 on June 7th, and I’ll make sure Donegal is put back where it belongs – right at the heart of where all the key decisions that affect all our lives are made.”