Waldron: Rural Ireland needs balanced regional development

The newly-appointed Cathaoirleach of the Roscommon Municipal District Anthony Waldron has called for more balanced regional development in order to preserve Ireland’s rural communities.

Cllr Anthony Waldron said he also raised the issue of rural planning with members of the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage while at an Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) seminar in Mullingar last week.

“Rural planning guidelines are harming our local communities and something needs to be done to fix this,” Cllr Waldron said.

“The Government also don’t fully appreciate the work being carried out on the ground by local volunteers…work that is keeping many parts of rural Ireland alive”.

Cllr Waldron, who is the main organiser of the annual Suck Valley Way Conference in Roscommon, also took aim at the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) for not doing more to promote the county.

“I will be proposing a motion at the next meeting of Roscommon County Council, calling on the local authority to invite the CEO of the IDA to the Chamber to explain why more isn’t being done to promote jobs in this area”.

Cllr Waldron highlighted the threat of closure faced by local national schools as well as dwindling membership numbers in GAA clubs as evidence that rural Ireland was being neglected by bodies like the IDA.

“I fully believe that people want to come back to counties like Roscommon. They want to live and work here and we need them here in order to preserve our local schools and sports clubs,” he said.

“It has been shown that there are many benefits to living in rural areas particularly when it comes to mental health and wellbeing and participation in sports. The time for action is running out,” he concluded.