Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, says the Government is again letting down rural Ireland by not implementing key recommendations in the Pat Spillane Chaired Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) Report. Deputy Ó Cuív also accused the Government of turning its back on rural Ireland.
He commented: “From rural Post Offices to Garda Stations, to Community Welfare Officers, week after week services have been withdrawn from rural communities. Many of the advanced programmes introduced by the previous Government to improve the economic and social life of rural areas have also been discontinued, including the CLÁR Programme.”
Deputy Ó Cuív added that other programmes such as the Rural Social Scheme and the development of rural recreation are starved of resources and have been put in care and maintenance mode.
“It is now three and a half years since the Government came into office. All it has to show in relation to rural development are negative policies and one report. This Report was prepared under the Chairmanship of Pat Spillane and was presented to Government in April 2014.
“Having read the Report, it basically suggests many things that were actually pursued by the previous Government and discontinued by the current Government. In fact, according to a Parliamentary Reply, the report is now being sent for further examination. In other words we are getting a report on the Report and no action from the Government.
“This is despite the fact that the Report calls for various specific actions to be carried out to ensure rural development. The recent Rural Development Programme announced by the Government for the period 2014 – 2020 is a 33% cut from €370 million to €240 million over 7 years on the Programme delivered by Fianna Fáil, The Government boasts about its achievements in Europe, but in many cases what they are coming back with is a much smaller slice of the cake and totally depleted funds.
“I now call on the Taoiseach to outline clearly what his proposals are in relation to rural Ireland for the remainder of his term in Government and to clearly outline the actions that will be taken.”