Skip to main content
Press Releases

New Thinking Needed On Rural Ireland Problems

By February 11, 2016No Comments

In recent days I, and my canvas team, have encountered an age old generational blight repeatedly on the doorsteps, from Tulsk to Ballinasloe – Emigration, and more specifically youth emigration. In one town land, we encountered two families only meters apart, one family had four of five children in Australia and the other had a father and all but one daughter abroad working. This is too common story even nowadays

When you see the anger and upset in the eyes of parents and grandparents it is absolutely heartbreaking. As a father of three young children, I can only imagine the sadness felt by people the length and breadth of this country as they think of their loved ones overseas. The most disheartening thing is the sense of hopelessness those at home feel about the future, but there must always be hope
Everyday someone we meet tell us they have lost hope, they tell us that they don’t believe things will change, they say they see no future for their loved ones here in Ireland. That worries me. It worries me because from what we are hearing door to door people feel rural areas have been neglected with the result of families becoming fractured and communities decimated. However, people remain resilient. They continue to strive to keep the social fabric alive and small businesses above water. Community groups work on, small businesses fight to stay open and families support one another. The community spirit is well and truly alive in rural Ireland and it is what has saved us from total devastation
That is why I don’t want people to lose hope. I want there to be a sustainable future for families and communities throughout rural Ireland because we deserve it, we have worked for it. I don’t believe in being “all doom and gloom” and offering no solutions so I have spent many months working to develop the “Rural Recovery & Reinvestment Plan”. This plan is a radical but responsible approach to reviving the economic and social vitality of rural regions. I have known full-well for a long time, and having listened to people for the past couple of years I now know better, the suffering the people have gone through particularly in rural regions
This plan will not solve all of rural Ireland’s problems. It may not bring back those who have gone to start a new life abroad, but it may bring back the recently emigrated and prevent future generations of Irish men and women having to set sail. It is but a starting point, with simple, realistic and achievable proposals which will, with time, see life brought back to rural towns and villages. This plan does not seek to give rural Ireland greater rights or privileges than cities but to put us on a level playing field and give families, communities and businesses the hand-up they need to thrive
Most importantly I want the parents of children who have emigrated and who are considering emigrating to know, that although things may seem bleak, you can never give up and never lose hope. We must, and will, continue to fight on and work to bring the recovery to rural Ireland, and bring our children home. We do this because we have to, and I do it because personally believe rural recovery can be achieved