11 October 2016

Labour Senator and Spokesperson on Rural Development, Denis Landy, says today’s Budget shows the Government is more focussed on a welfare scheme for sheep support, than a renewal of rural communities.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Pascal Donohue, allocated 25% of the Rural Development Programme to the welfare of sheep but provided no new specific measures to tackle the decline in the rural economy of the country.

“Despite the glaring gap between the recovery in major cities and rural Ireland no new initiatives have been announced in Budget 2017.

The promises of Fine Gael to ‘Keep the Recovery Going’ have fallen just like their election posters once the 2016 election results were known.

Small towns and villages are dying economically in front of our eyes but the only proposal this Government has is to commission another report (Action Plan for Rural Development).

Economic recovery in rural Ireland must be driven by government policies such as relief in commercial rates, special rural grant aid for start-up business and tax relief on transport costs to negate rural locations.

None of these have been provided for in this budget, and while Minister Donoghue in his budget speech says that ‘Today’s budget reflects our determination to help rural communities’, sadly these words are not backed up by actions.”

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