‘Standing Up for Rural Ireland – Mapping a Pathway to Recovery’- the report we are launching at this Ard Fheis, is the fruit of a year-long consultation process which began here in Castlebar.
Martin Ferris, myself and many comrades along the way met with community and voluntary sector representatives from Gweedore to Dungarvan and from Edenderry to Ennis. We consulted young and older, disability groups, turf-cutters, farmers, fishermen, footballers, firemen, homemakers and emigrants. They told us this government is penalising rural dwellers inequitably for the sins of the bankers, bondholders and light touch regulators and that has to stop.
Tá na pobail tuaithe lán le spiorad, lán le cumas agus lán le deiseanna chun an tír seo a chuir ar ais ar a chosa.
Job creation must be our key priority. Sinn Féin believes in strengthening the support for local enterprise and co-operatives and we will amalgamate Invest Northern Ireland and Intertrade Ireland into All Ireland Enterprise.
We recommend the radical rebalancing of the CAP and EU fishing quotas to revitalise coastal communities and encourage more indigenous production.
Sinn Féin proposes a graduated tax on all gas and oil profits, of 80%, 60% and 40%, along with a 51% state share in all finds. We oppose the coming on-stream of the Corrib gas until such changes are implemented.
We also oppose the use of fracking. We favour moving towards the Scottish model of wind farm development with fewer but larger farms located well away from people’s homes.
We propose that €1 billion in funding be provided by the state to assist in the development of wind energy through state companies and the development of a €350m Bio-refinery plant.
We will tackle infrastructural deficits in the west and north west establishing a new region embracing counties Derry, Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry, prioritising the development of the Western Rail Corridor, the Atlantic Road Corridor and the continued work on the A5 Dublin to Derry road.
Sinn Féin would invest €2.5 billion in next- generation broadband and construct 50 new Primary Health Care Centres at a cost of €250 million. We would create 8,000 new construction jobs as part of a €1 billion capital investment social housing programme. Build an additional 100 schools and refurbish 75 more at a cost of €350 million over the next 3 years.
We would permit one-off housing for people from the locality and change the rural planning process to favour the development of sustainable rural housing.
The downgrading of local hospitals must be halted and suicide prevention must be made an area of co-operation under the all-Ireland Ministerial Council.
We would halt reductions in Garda numbers and vehicles while ensuring greater emphasis on community policing. We would lift the recruitment embargo to hire necessary frontline staff across public services.
Forbróidh muid Bille Nua Gaeltachta a iompóidh ar ais an dochar atá dhá dhéanamh ag an Rialtas seo do phobal na Gaeilge & na Gaeltachta agus chun an Straitéis Fiche Bliain a chur chun cinn i gceart.
Seasfaidh Sinn Féin le pobal na tuaithe agus ar son cothrom na féinne do gach saoránach ar an oileán seo.