Improved rail services and better connectivity to Dublin are key to economic development in the west of Ireland, according to Green Party candidate for Galway West, Pauline O'Reilly.
Better services would combat rural decline and improve job prospects for young families in the west, Ms O'Reilly said after a meeting of Green Party groups from the west of Ireland in Westport over the weekend.
Regional development was top of the agenda at the meeting attended by party members from Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Donegal, Westmeath, Leitrim and Longford, where it was agreed that reliable rail services were key to regional development in other countries, and should be looked at here in Ireland.
“Improved public transport services could provide a vital lifeline to much of the west, which is suffering from a loss of services, closure of post offices, banks, social welfare offices and schools," Ms O'Reilly says. "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.”
O’Reilly says a number of policy ideas were explored, which she hoped would be put forward at national level. Other issues discussed included the high level of political participation among women especially, since the recent referendum on the 8th Amendment, water, waste, coastal care, and tourism.