Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy expressed deep alarm at what he said is a “damning indictment of Government policy in relation to the West of Ireland and rural communities in general.”
The MEP has called on Michael Ring to make a statement on the issue immediately.
Of Mr. McGuinness’s decision to write to Minister Michael Ring asking him not to consider him for reappointment, Mr. Carthy says: “Criticisms made by Mr. McGuinness of the manner in which the WDC has been treated by Government are deeply alarming.
“Mr. McGuinness says that the the Minister’s Department has never engaged with him on what the WDC was doing or whether it could achieve more.
“The WDC is an important element with a good record of achievement but it clear from Mr. McGuinness’s revelations that in the Government and Minister Ring have abjectly failed to support its work.
“This is a major scandal and a damning indictment of Government policy in relation to the West of Ireland and rural communities in general.
“It is just the latest in a long line of evidence of the failure of Fine Gael, like Fianna Fáil before them, to go beyond rhetoric when it comes to rural and regional development.
“Big questions will also now be rightly asked of those so-called ‘Independents’ who claim to champion rural Ireland but yet support this regressive government.
“Minister Michael Ring must make a statement on this immediately and outline what he intends to do to rectify a deeply worrying situation for people in the west of Ireland.”