The Rural Independent TDs will this evening (Thursday 1st April) move a crucial private members motion in the Dáil, seeking to hold the government accountable for delivering key infrastructure to all parts of rural Ireland.
Speaking ahead of the debate, the leader of the Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath said:
“Our motion seeks to hold the government democratically accountable for the delivery of key infrastructural investments under the national development plan, a key plank of Project Ireland 2040. It also seeks to deliver the roll-out of the national broadband plan (NBP) by the end of 2022, instead of the government’s target of 2027.”
“It is inconceivable how the government can claim the NBP is successful when the programme only delivers high-speed internet access to 12% of the 550,000 homes promised by the end of this year.”
“Our motion is all about supporting farmers, rural residents and local communities. We are seeking to have the chronic under-investment in rural areas addressed by prioritising infrastructural development in the regions and rural areas, by expediting the delivery and increasing the investment. This is essential to stem rural decline, improve quality of life, harness the opportunity of remote work and allow for balanced regional job creation.”
“We are also seeking an immediate review of the draconian planning restrictions on rural one-off housing, contained within the National Planning Framework, so that local people can build a home on their land without the fear of government and/or an Bord Pleanála blockages.”
“Earlier this week, the government launched a half-baked rural development strategy. The document was vague and farcical, containing no details and amounting to nothing more than a ‘cut and paste’ exercise of previous press releases and announcements.”
“The government’s strategy takes rural Ireland for granted and is nothing more than a highly patronising marketing exercise.”
“The government’s half-baked plan is extremely light on detail, targets, data and figures. In fact, their proposals do not even contain any projections. Questions posed by journalists at the launch event went unanswered, despite the government’s spin machine being in overdrive to promote the plan.”
“Such a pathetic approach and meaningless level of commitment to rural Ireland is why rural parts of the country are continuing to be starved of jobs and investment and hit with overburdensome regulations and restrictions.”
“The government have disgracefully and consistently refused to allow a democratic debate and vote on Project Ireland 2040 in the Oireachtas, despite that plan dictating where future investments occur and where people live, work and obtain state services over the next two decades.”
“Tonight, we offer, through our motion, the opportunity for all TDs to decide if they are on the side of transparency and accountability, and for a prioritised investment programme for rural Ireland. TDs will have to decide if they wish to stand with the ongoing government spin and empty platitudes or actually support our motion, and stand up for the people of rural Ireland, by addressing real issues that impact gravely on the lives of people in every parish,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.