The Green Party have said this week that improved rail services in the midlands and west with better connectivity to Dublin are key to economic development which would combat rural decline and improve job prospects for young families.
At a meeting of the local Green Party groups from the west and midlands of Ireland in Westport over the weekend, attendees from Westmeath, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Donegal, Leitrim and Longford heard that reliable rail services were essential for regional development in other countries, and should be looked at here in Ireland.
Speaking at the meeting, Green Party representative Louise Heavin said, “improved public transport services could provide a vital lifeline to much of the west and midlands, which is suffering from a loss of services, closure of post offices, banks, social welfare offices and schools.
The social aspect of keeping families here would be of enormous benefit to areas with an ageing population and suffering population loss, while at the same time allowing young families to be able to afford to buy their own homes. We need to develop our regions to secure the future for young people in our areas.”
Green Party Galway West candidate, Pauline O’Reilly, who organised the think-in, said that a number of policy ideas were explored which she hoped would be put forward at national level. She said, “we really appreciate the hospitality of the Mayo greens this weekend.
We discussed a number of topics, which we now hope to develop into policy proposals. Regional development was top of the agenda, and how we can develop sustainable, resilient communities in the West of Ireland.”
Other issues discussed included the ‘Save Leitrim’ movement, the high level of political participation among young people, women especially, since the recent referendum on the eighth Amendment, water, waste, coastal care, and tourism.