Cllr Harry Barrett has issued a statement in response to An Taoiseach recent comments regarding Cllr Barrett's request, calling on An Taoiseach to focus attention on the need to provide at least 1,000 production jobs in the county town.
Barrett explained, “I make no excuses for calling for more jobs for the 2,335 people who are looking for work in the town today. That's what I pledged to do for unemployed families in Castlebar when elected as councillor. An Taoiseach's excuses regarding his inaction on jobs for Castlebar cuts no mustard with me. An Taoiseach states that infrastructure issues prevent him from addressing Castlebar's job crisis. Surely, it must be seen as an indictment of his own political record when he uses lack of infrastructure as an excuse, after a 38 year career as a TD for County Mayo.”
He went on to say, “Indeed, the political neglect of the west over many years, that has led to poor infrastructure, is all the more reason for An Taoiseach to redress this shocking neglect by using his political clout to locate industry here in Castlebar and surrounding areas. For example, as head of government, An Taoiseach can engage State and semi State bodies to locate industry in Castlebar. Mayo is seen by Government as a major future generator of wind energy with plans for 3,000 wind turbines to be erected in the county over the coming years. Bord na Móna, a State company, will be driving this initiative. Can I ask An Taoiseach, will one single wind turbine be made in Mayo? I understand that these turbines will be produced in Ireland due to the cost of transportation. I want An Taoiseach to ensure that Bord na Mona include Castlebar in their plans for their production. We have never had such political clout in the county, An Taoiseach, a Government Minister, the leader of the Seanad, two other Government TDs, and an appointed head of the Western Development Commission. They were voted in on a tidal wave of optimism and expectation. They were seen as the best choice to deliver for our town and county and they got the vote accordingly. We may never get this political opportunity again to address our infrastructure and employment issues.”
Cllr Barrett concluded, “I respect An Taoiseach as a decent, honourable, man who has done a lot of good work to stabilise the mess left to his Government after the election. However he has to respect my call now, as a local councillor, for the good of Castlebar, that he and his colleagues return some of this expectation and optimism felt after the election, by delivering at least 1,000 production jobs into this town to arrest the financial and commercial decline and the hardship that goes with it. Castlebar needs a major jobs jolt to kickstart the local economy again. There will be no improvement in business, retail, or family finances until this town goes back to production. This is my sole concern and I make no apologies. An Taoiseach has the power: He must use it for his home town.”