Thursday, 14th December 2017
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Cill Chiaráin,

Conamara,

County Galway,

A chara,

The deal struck between the DUP and the British Government has a clear lesson for the people of Rural Ireland. (By Rural Ireland I mean all the areas outside the cities as outlined by the CEDRA Report, which was chaired by Pat Spillane.) We, living in these areas, need a similar strategy to wring concessions from a system which is unduly centred on Greater Dublin.

In April, Paddy McGuinness highlighted the enormity of the problem when he announced he would not be seeking reappointment to the chair of the Western Development Commission after four years in the post: “I believe strongly that there is absolutely no commitment at either political or administrative level to balanced regional development, nor is there any worthwhile plan do address rural decline,” he said.

I spent two terms as an Independent on Galway County Council, three terms on the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta, as well as being a member of the Western Regional Authority and of the Border Midland and Western Assembly.

Early on I realised that most of our efforts were in vain. Indeed, at one meeting of the Western Regional Authority I suggested that we should all resign together to expose the whole charade.

Pessimists amongst us say that the power is in Dublin and that we can do nothing about it. Yes, but the balance of power could be in Rural Ireland. Imagine if we organised a movement and got 10 committed TDs elected on a carefully crafted rural platform.

The days of majority Government in Ireland are gone. Our 10 TDs could very well be the kingmakers after the next election.

If anyone of your readers is interested in the idea please put forward your views in this newspaper or contact me per email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Seosamh Ó Cuaig.

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