“Taxpayers can’t afford to subsidise rural way of life. If it is to prosper Ireland must become a Global City.” says former Finance Secretary General John Moran. This was our response:
I refer to John Moran’s article last Sunday, which I hope is merely kite flying for his native city and does not represent the views of the current civil service. Those who believe all we need is a city state should remember that rural Ireland provides the food and electricity necessary to support cities and indeed if one wishes to just look at economics, it begins and nurtures the labour pool. Agriculture and tourism are not only our largest industries but kept the country going during the recession.
In Muintir na Tíre we empower all communities – urban and rural – and we do not support this artificial divide that is being created, particularly with inflammatory headlines such as this. We believe all communities are entitled to basic services but feel that rural communities have fallen behind in these basic services. Nobody expects a medical centre for excellence at the end of every road and nobody expects something for nothing. Remember rural dwellers already pay for their water, pay more for their electricity, pay high car running costs out of necessity, and so on.
There is much merit in some of Mr Moran’s ideas on urban development, including the idea of an urban counterbalance to Dublin. However there is no reason this cannot be done in tandem with providing essential services nationally, as part of a proper regional development plan.
We simply request that all of Ireland should have access to basic services to allow the country to prosper together. Rural broadband (which customers will have to pay for) is essential. Reasonable transport is also essential. A reasonable social and economic network, possibly through the Post Offices, is also essential. More than all, we have long called for a Government policy for rural Ireland so that we can all share a vision of what we want and how we might get there. We wish new Minister Heather Humphries well in her task.