The Rural Future plan announced today must be followed up with immediate Government action to help stem the further decline of communities throughout Ireland, according to Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns.

Holly, who represents Cork South-West, said:

“The plan announced today, while ambitious in terms of scale, will ultimately be judged on how quickly it is implemented. Many small rural communities have struggled to survive due to decades of under-investment by successive governments and have experienced additional decline due to Covid-19.

“Rural Ireland has been further impacted by the closure of banks and post offices, which were once the commercial heartbeat of towns and villages. The slow national rollout of high-speed broadband has also put workers, students and businesses at a serious disadvantage when compared to those living in larger urban centres.

“The creation of up to 400 working hubs with fast internet connection, as proposed in today’s plan, will go some way towards bridging this gap but should not be seen as a substitute for proper investment in rural broadband.

“The success of this latest relocation initiative will be dependent on the Government’s actions. If we are to successfully encourage people to live, work and do business in rural Ireland, we must invest in the necessary infrastructure and learn from failed decentralisation efforts of the past.”

March 29, 2021

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