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1 March 2007 Edition

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'Banks are the new landlords in Ireland'

• Údarás na Gaeltachta member Gráinne Mhic Geidigh, Michelle Gildernew MP, Martin Ferris TD, Cllr Pearse Doherty and Cllr Pádraig Mac Lochlainn at the launch of Equality for Rural Communities in Donegal town

• Údarás na Gaeltachta member Gráinne Mhic Geidigh, Michelle Gildernew MP, Martin Ferris TD, Cllr Pearse Doherty and Cllr Pádraig Mac Lochlainn at the launch of Equality for Rural Communities in Donegal town

Sinn Féin representatives from across the island gathered in Donegal town last Monday to launch Equality for Rural Communities, the party’s strategy document on regenerating rural Ireland.
Donegal general election candidates Councillor Pearse Doherty and Councillor Pádraig Mac Lochlainn were joined by North Kerry TD Martin Ferris and Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew, as well as a dozen other Sinn Féin elected representatives from across the North-West.
Launching the document, Martin Ferris, who is Sinn Féin’s Dáil Spokesperson on Rural Development, declared that “rural Ireland is in danger of becoming merely a holiday home for the rich.
“The banks are the new landlords in this country, and they are doing great damage to the future of young people and families from rural areas. It’s an indication of the failure of Government policies that some people are trying to run their families on just €15,000 per year.”
He said that last year’s Fisheries Bill effectively criminalised hard-working people, while post offices, schools, small shops and Garda stations are being closed in rural areas.
“Sinn Féin’s strategy document is our attempt to generate a genuine conversation with rural Ireland, and is intended to find a way out of the second-class treatment to which rural communities are being subjected,” Ferris said.
Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew described Sinn Féin’s all-Ireland character as central to revitalising rural communities.

Sinn Féin rural regeneration priorities include:
•   An all-Ireland Rural White Paper
•   A comprehensive, fully integrated, properly resourced Rural Regeneration Strategy
•   Radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy
•   Removal of ‘UK’ status from our food exports
•   Keeping Ireland GM free
•   Reform of planning services to protect the right of rural people to live within their own community
•   Ending cutbacks in the provision of services to rural communities.

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