WDC Chairperson’s stinging attack
There are calls this week for Minister Michael Ring to make a full statement after the chairperson of the Western Development Commission wrote to the minister asking him not to re-appoint him to the role.
In a damning letter to the Acting CEO of the WDC, Paddy McGuinness explained that he believes “strongly that there is absolutely no commitment at either political or administrative level to balanced regional development, nor is there any worthwhile plan to redress rural decline.” He also details what he terms the Government’s ‘lack of interest in the Commission’s work’.”
Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy says ‘the lid has been lifted’ on the Government’s “lack of commitment” to seriously tackle the ongoing problem of rural decline following the circulation of the letter.
Deputy Murphy said:“ The fact that Paddy McGuinness, one of rural Ireland’s greatest advocates, felt that he had to take such unprecedented action is deeply regrettable. It is further evidence of the anger and frustration that exists in rural Ireland at this Government’s complete disinterest and abandonment of communities in the western region.
“The Western Development Commission has been extremely successful, but in recent years has been starved of resources and Government support.”
Mr. McGuinness notes that the Commission was left without a board for over three months in 2014 and presently does not have a board since February of this year. The position of CEO has been vacant for almost three years.
“It simply beggars belief,” said Deputy Murphy. “This Government’s attitude to the Western Development Commission, and rural Ireland as a whole, is a disgrace.”
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said: “The letter from Paddy McGuinness is further evidence that the Government is only paying lip service to the development and regeneration of rural Ireland and that it is not serious when it comes to addressing the real problems that exist.
“When I voiced those views in the recent past, I was slated as being too negative. I am joining in the calls for Minister Ring to make a statement on this most serious matter. Either we are serious about rural decline and regeneration of the regions or we are not. On the evidence of what we have seen so far there is no real commitment, only plenty of waffle and empty promises” he concluded.