Rural Renewal Scheme’s Initial Funding Is A Pittance – McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the funding being made available for The Town and Village Renewal Scheme as grossly insufficient and inadequate. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister for the Gaeltacht Heritage and Rural Affairs Heather Humphries indicated that up to 200 rural towns and villages with populations less than 5000 people will be eligible for the Scheme:

“The nature and scope of this Scheme clearly indicates that there is no real appreciation of the scale of the challenges facing rural Ireland.

What will it do for example to stop the ceaseless attack on the rural post office network? What will it do to alleviate the crippling levels of commercial rates that are leading to town centre streets being boarded up? The answer is next to nothing.

There is a wide-spread feeling that this is yet one more Scheme designed to give the government an alibi for its otherwise pathetic engagement with the real challenges that exist in rural towns and villages.

This Scheme will provide grants here and there but it will do nothing to address the deep structural inequalities that are embedded in rural Ireland.

If we take one recent example here in Tipperary, where it took over a year and a half to get a single bus shelter for Bansha Village, we can see that this Scheme is not the solution that is required.

Rural Ireland and its towns and villages still struggle in getting adequate GP cover, or usable broadband.

We must focus on all these kinds of issues and not on window dressing initiatives that simply mask the underlying problems,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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