Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has panned the failure of FF, FG and the Greens to include a real step change for Regional and Rural Ireland in the Programme for Government. He said that M50 visions still reigns in the Leinster House Bubble with TDs not being able to see beyond the M50 motor way.

Tóibín: “The Programme for government was an opportunity for significantly change how this country works or in many ways does not work. Instead we see the continuation of a policy of “Social Welfare” for Regional and Rural Ireland with a fund here and a fund there. But all this does is slow down the decline in Regional and Rural Ireland. It does nothing to change decline into growth”.

“In a time of crisis pots of money and rural funds are welcome but what we need is system change. The transfer of funds from Dublin to rural Ireland in this way underlines that the system is broken. Wealth, population, infrastructure and investment is concentrating more and more on Dublin. The all roads lead to Dublin approach of FG and the Greens are all over the PFG”.

“The demands of the beef protestors to reform the beef market haven’t been met. The Programme for Government has nothing to replicate Aontú Beef Minimum Pricing Bill. The proposed government maintains the “Buyer Power” of the Beef Barons over the beef farmers – a startling indication of the values underpinning the new government. The PFG does not mention the importing of sub-standard Agri-produce into Ireland from Latin America, and seems to copper fasten the selling out of the Agri-sector to Mercosur countries. There are no specific provisions or policies to support the next generations of farmers, only a generic pledge to support – which with this government certainly cannot be trusted.”

“The transport and ICT isolation of such much of rural Ireland leads to 3 hour commutes from streets in towns where you can play football on in the middle of the day. Young people are forced to move closer to Dublin for work they could do remotely and break their backs to pay extortionate rents. Community after community see their beloved hometowns fall from vibrant hubs to ghost towns”.

“The Covid Crisis offers a real opportunity for change. Workers and companies alike have woken up to the real advantages to flexible and remote working. The government, Local Authorities, EI, IDA and large companies must now develop Internet Hubs in towns right around the country to allow flexible and remote working. This will significantly ease the pressures on workers by reducing commutes and see time and money being spent locally rather than in Dublin”.