Rural Ireland 'our priority not ransom' say Independent TDs

Noel Grealish and others rubbish claims of seeking billions in investment for supporting new government

Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish.

Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish.

The Independent rural TDs have "completely distanced" themselves from a claim that they have sought billions in investment in return for their votes to support the formation of a new government.

In a statement issued today, the TDs - Michael Collins, Michael Harty, Mattie McGrath, Denis Naughten, and Galway West TD Noel Grealish said: "At no stage during talks with either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael was a list of major capital developments presented by us. Instead we focused on key strategic national decisions which would have a direct impact on the survival of provincial towns and rural Ireland."

The group said that during discussions with both parties, "it was clear there would be little or no new funds available for the next two budgets" and that the TDs were "very conscious of putting forward clear proposals which would benefit as many disadvantaged communities, both rural and urban, as possible".

The group concluded: "In many cases the changes which we suggested had little or no financial impact but could, with a determined commitment by Government, make a real difference to the survival of many communities throughout the country."

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