Under the next Government there should be a full cabinet Minister with responsibility for Rural Affairs Despite the economy picking up, there is a huge imbalance between the improvement on the east coast and in the bigger cities, and the situation in rural Ireland.
There are so many areas that need to be addressed across almost every facet of economic activity that it will take a full Minister for Rural Affairs to tackle all the problems that exist. There are serious defecits in broadband and mobile phone coverage, the many problems that surround the flooding crisis have to be tackled in a meaningful way once and for all. We have to improve and assist credit unions and post offices to offer a greater service to rural people as the banks have largely abandoned rural Ireland.. There are many problems that are affecting small farmers that have to be tackled as well.We all know about the crisis in our health services particularly in rural areas. The closure of small shops, pubs, Garda Stations,Government Offices, hotels, and other small businesses has had a hugely negative effect on rural Ireland and it has to be tackled in a pro-active and serious way. We need to find resources to re-ignite rural communities and to see some way of getting some of the many young people who emigrated come back. If there are jobs they will stay. We have to find a way of re invigorating our small towns and villages and the only way to do that is to appoint a senior Minister for rural Ireland and I will be campaigning on that issues on the election campaign.