The extension of the natural gas pipeline to areas of Roscommon is vital, according to Fine Gael general election candidate Frank Feighan. ‘If the Government is sincere about Western development, then it is matter of urgency that the national gas network is extended to towns such as Ballaghaderreen, Castlerea, Strokestown, Boyle, Carrick-on-Shannon and Roscommon. ‘For companies to survive and prosper they must have access to a fuel and power resource that is clean, cheap and efficient. On all three counts, natural gas scores highly. Yet, unfortunately, no decision has been made to extend the gas pipeline to towns within Co. Roscommon. ‘Presently, local businesses in this region are being strangled due to the high costs of energy. Indeed with lower energy costs many businesses would be able to employ extra workers, however such businesses are unable to do so at present. ‘Furthermore, gas is a clean, environmentally safe source of energy and reduces this country’s dependence on oil, which is a fast diminishing and more expensive resource. I appeal to the Minister for the Environment Dick Roche and his colleagues to adopt plans for the extension of the natural gas network, backing up their words for real and meaningful regional development,’ Senator Feighan concluded.