The news today (Monday) that 25,000 jobs will be provided in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon over the next five years is welcome and any increase in the numbers of people working in this region is certainly good news. However there is a number of observations I want to make. It has been accepted that there are 5,000 people less in employment here in the western region that was the case a year ago and that is not to include the many thousands of mainly young people who have emigrated from this region. The Government have promised balanced regional development and they have promised 236,000 new jobs over five years nationwide yet there is less than 10% for this region which doesn’t sound balanced to me. I listened to Minister Richard Bruton taking on local radio this morning ( Monday) and while he mentioned Mayo and Galway, he didn’t mention Roscommon at all which I hope was only a slip on his part. I will be putting pressure on Minister Bruton and on the Taoiseach to ensure that under any jobs plan that Roscommon gets a fair crack of the whip. This plan is short on specifics and I will be calling for details to be published as to where all these new jobs are to be provided and where the increases will be.
The facts are that the Government can announce all the jobs they like for this region but unless they seriously tackle the major defecits in the broadband service, meaningful CAP reform for farm families, poor road and rail services, the disastrous health service, and the gap left behind by the major banks who have largely abandoned rural Ireland, there is no point in even trying for foreign direct investment into this region.