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Government ‘lip service’ exposed - Conway Walsh


'SECOND DOWNGRADING' Sinn Féin Mayo TD, Rose Conway Walsh.

Edwin McGreal

Consistent Government failure to invest in the north and west region has led to the downgrading to a ‘lagging region’ by the European Commission after becoming significantly poorer relative to the European average.
That’s according to Mayo Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh who was speaking after the European Commission revealed this assessment, included in a partnership agreement document between Ireland and the EU last week which unlocked €1.4 billion in funding through the bloc’s cohesion policy.
“Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal and Monaghan, have been further downgraded by the European Commission to a ‘lagging region’ with a GDP of only 71 percent of the EU average. 
“The European Commission has repeatedly raised concerns about regional disparities in Ireland as they have been among the highest in the EU.
“This is the second downgrading of the region in recent years showing that rather than progressing, the region is regressing at a rapid rate under Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Greens.

‘Multiple warnings’
“We have had multiple warnings from the EU and nationally from CSO figures which showed disposable incomes of people in the North and West Region of the State are well below the State average, with the gap now three times higher than it was a decade ago.
“This will not surprise anyone living in those counties as they have seen the lack of investment, slow rollout of broadband, and failure to develop Knock Airport SDZ by successive governments,” she said.
Deputy Conway-Walsh called on the Government to improve connectivity and to provide the infrastructure to harness the west’s offshore wind energy potential.
“Improved connectivity will be vital to unlock the social and economic potential of the entire west coast. The Western Rail Corridor can play a crucial role in addressing regional imbalance and reinvigorating the economy in the west of Ireland in the coming years.
“Offshore wind energy in the west is envied across Europe yet the government has simply not put the infrastructure in place to make the transmission of electricity from West to East possible. This is totally at odds with the climate targets and worsening energy crisis.
“We need to see substantial investment in the new Atlantic Technological University to provide the necessary education and training and drive research and development.
“The government’s lip service to regional development needs to be matched by real investment in the region if we are to protect communities in the West and North region,” she said.


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