Dep Paul Connaughton has this week hit out at the news that the long-awaited jobs for Ballinasloe will not now come to the town following the suspension of the decentralisation programme in last week’s Budget.
Dep Connaughton said the National Roads Authority was to have relocated to the town, bringing 110 jobs directly and creating countless others as a result.
In his Budget speech last week Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan announced that the NRA move and 50 other projects will be deferred pending a review in 2011 which will take into account the impact of rationalisation of State agencies.
“Ballinasloe never needed job creation as much as it does now,” Dep Connaughton said. “There has been an almost 50 per cent jump in the number of unemployed people in the Ballinasloe area in the last year. Figures from the Central Statistics Office shows that 919 people were unemployed in September 2007, but this dramatically jumped to 1,449 in August of this year.
“Many fine large decentralisation projects have been successfully completed in bad economic times over the years, such as the Department of Defence to Galway city or the Department of Agriculture to Castlebar, but the Government totally mishandled this particular programme and now Ballinasloe has to pay a very high price for this ineptitude,” he added.