Rural Galway will be out in force at next weekend’s Labour party convention, protesting against what it sees as the “attacks on rural communities” being pursued by the party in Government.
The Labour Party will hold its convention, which is expected to be attended by around 1,000 delegates, in the Bailey Allen Hall of NUI, Galway from Friday April 13 to Sunday 15.
The protest will assemble in Eyre Square on Saturday April 14 at 2pm before marching to NUIG. It will be composed of a wide variety of groups and be led by Glór Na Tuaithe - A Rural Voice, which Independent Connemara councillor Seosamh Ó Cuaig describes as “an umbrella group for all who feel rural Ireland is under attack”.
Cllr Ó Cuaig is calling on people from across rural areas in County Galway to join in on the day.
In a statement, made with anti septic tank charge campaigner Pádraic an Táilliúra Ó Conghaola, Cllr Ó Cuaig said: “Fine Gael and Labour have only ears for Brussels and Berlin. The German and other foreign banks are looked after while we in rural Ireland and our sisters and brothers in urban Ireland pay the price.”
Cllr Ó Cuaig accused Labour of being “in the forefront of the attacks on our rural communities” and he cited a number of issues of concern such as the downgrading of small schools; the stopping of building social housing in rural areas; the “unclear and totally unfair” septic tanks charge; closure of rural post offices; fracking being encouraged while turf cutting is prohibited; natural resources being handed over to multi nationals with no benefits accruing to the State; the downgrading of the community employment schemes.
Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly will also be joining the protest. She said: “Labour’s policies in Government are an utter travesty of what the party’s founding members stood for”.
“Without a hint of embarrassment or shame the party are holding their annual conference in Galway where unemployment is over 14 per cent,” she said.
She was also highly critical of the closure of the St Francis Nursing Home. “The Labour Party have silently stood by and allowed vulnerable residents in their 80s and 90s to be moved from their homes,” she said. “That Galway would be deprived of its one and only public nursing home under Labour’s watch is simply a step to far.”