Fianna Fáil has launched "A Manifesto for Rural Ireland” which it says is a comprehensive policy document that provides a credible plan to support the development of rural parish communities and balanced regional development. The document was launched by party spokesperson on agriculture and food Éamon Ó Cuív and spokesperson on community affairs Bobby Aylward, the document sets out key reforms and proposals that Fianna Fáil will implement in government. These measures it says will directly improve service provision, infrastructure, and employment opportunities in rural Ireland.
Deputy Ó Cuív, who is contesting the General Election in the Galway West constituency, which takes in large parts of south Mayo, including Ballinrobe, for the first time, commented: “Fianna Fáil has put forward a credible plan with practical costed solutions to reverse the five years of unfair government attacks on rural Ireland across many areas. Our vision centres on ensuring that rural Ireland is given the same employment and economic opportunities that have been afforded to other areas.”
The key policy commitments in the plan includes the reinstatement of a senior rural ministry and to introduce a community services guarantee, creating 30,000 jobs in rural Ireland; to provide top quality infrastructure in roads, water and sewerage; to maintain rural GP cover and increase GPs' rural practice allowance; to restore the pupil teacher ratio in small schools and improve school transport services; and to provide universal fibre broadband and mobile phone coverage.
"The Government’s recently published rural charter proposes nothing other than a talking shop," Deputy Ó Cuív added. "After five years in power, their record on rural Ireland is shameful.”