Budget 2017 “will not make any significant difference” in providing better rural services and infrastructure, and at best only offers rural communities the, “crumbs from the rich man’s table”.
This is the view of Galway West TD and spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív, despite the fact his party will be supporting the minority Government’s Budget through Dáil Éireann.
Although he welcomed changes to the Farm Assist programme, additional money for the CLÁR scheme, and extra places on the Rural Social Scheme, Dep Ó Cuív said the additional spending will only amount to half a million euro per county in the State.
“Compare the investment in rural Ireland with urban areas and the inequity is abundantly clear,” he said. “Investment in Dublin runs into the billions, while rural Ireland is left to fund its services and development measures with mere millions.”
He castigated the Budget as being “full of smoke and mirrors” and many of the “so-called announcements nothing more than rehashed programmes, with both the rural broadband scheme and GLAS funding having been announced multiple times”.