Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Eamon Ó Cuív has called on the government to recommence the decentralisation of jobs to rural Ireland and make strides in improving rural broadband to allow more viable jobs in the western region.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “The previous programme of decentralisation managed to move 3,500 jobs in a number of years. A very good example of how this can work in practice exists in Clifden, Co. Galway, when forty stable jobs were created in a new permanent office by Pobal when I was Minister. I regret that this decentralisation has not continued as was intended, and that the target that was laid out of up to 100 public jobs being located in Clifden has not been reached.

“There is a growing demand to work and live in rural Ireland. Yet without broadband services this is almost impossible. The only brake on a much greater increase in the number of people working from home, whether that is urban or rural, is the slow roll-out of broadband. It is very evident to me, that there are many people with opportunities to work from home, who are being hindered in doing so because of the inability of the government to deliver rural broadband to all rural areas.

“The work done by Eir in bringing rural broadband to up to 300,000 houses is to be complimented, but it has highlighted a new digital divide in rural Ireland, between the 300,000 houses who have or will have in the near future, high speed broadband and the 500,000 homes and businesses without high speed broadband.

“The lack of decentralisation and rural broadband are blocks to job growth in the west. It is a matter of grave concern that the Taoiseach recently seemed to be looking for a way out not to provide rural broadband when he hinted that the government were having second thoughts on the roll-out due to the cost. 

“This government will feel a kick-back from rural Ireland if it reneges from this promise, the like they never felt before,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.