Statements from Government parties that the economic recovery is taking hold is not going to wash in many areas of rural Ireland where there is no sign of any recovery.
The economy may be in recovery in Dublin, on the East Coast, and in the bigger towns and cities but it has yet to reach many parts of rural Ireland. That is why any new Government will have to appoint a Minister for Rural Affairs who would have a full cabinet post. This Minster would have proper administrative powers to implement change in rural Ireland across a number of areas. There will have to resources allocated to improved broadband and mobile phone coverage, more for rural transport and for the repair of flood damaged roads. There needs to be far more support for small businesses in rural areas especially businesses who are giving employment. We need more support for small farmers and the Minister for Agriculture will have to take on the big factories to address the prices paid to farmers for their cattle and there are several other issues relating to small farmers that need to be tackled as well. We have also to tackle the housing crisis in a creative way and we have to go back to building local authority houses for the people on the housing lists nationwide. We also have to enhance and support the role of Post Offices and Credit Unions as an alternative to the Banks who have let down rural communities in many instances. These are just some of the many issues that have to be tackled.
People in rural Ireland deserve to partake in any recovery as they paid just as much a price as everyone else did during the crash. The appointment of a Minister for Rural Affairs with proper powers will be the first step in the process