Michael Fitzmaurice TD has called on the Government must improve the infrastructure of the West of Ireland in order to create a “level the playing field” and help aid job creation.
Deputy Fitzmaurice said “The latest employment figures from the IDA shows clearly that the West of Ireland and other rural areas are falling further and further behind when it comes to job creation. The figures show an increase in employment figures for Mayo and Galway, a small increase in Roscommon and a loss of jobs in Sligo and Leitrim. While the employment figures at IDA assisted companies shows a slight overall increase in the Western area which is welcome, it is minuscule when compared to the figures for Dublin and Cork and other major urban areas.”
Michael Fitzmaurice continued “Last week we met with major employers in the West and they clearly told us that the lack of proper infrastructure in terms of roads, proper broadband and mobile services and other basic facilities is a bar to employment creation in rural areas. The responsibility in this regard lies with the Government and unless we level the playing field in terms of infrastructure in rural areas the gap in terms of employment creation between areas like the West of Ireland and other major urban areas will continue to grow.”
Michael Fitzmaurice also commented on lack of movement on improvements to rural post offices. The Independent TD said “Despite an agreement in the programme for Government, nothing at all has been done to improve the lot of rural post offices, which is very disappointing. It was agreed that the Government would look into the provision of extra services like the payment of Motor Tax in the Post Office network but nothing has been done. Minister Varadkar said last year that he would be in favour of an enhanced role for local Post Offices yet we have heard nothing from the Government since they have taken office”
Michael Fitzmaurice went on to say that “The Post Office network is crucial to hundreds of local communities up and down the country and if the Government is serious about halting rural decline then a cohesive and workable plan to increase services at rural Post Offices should be agreed and implemented immediately. This is something that I have been raising on a constant basis since I was elected and I will be raising this matter again at the earliest opportunity” he concluded.