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21 August 2008 Edition

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Doherty on campaign tour to regenerate West of Ireland

Pearse Doherty

Pearse Doherty

SINN FÉIN Senator Pearse Doherty this week set out on a tour of the West Coast of Ireland including the islands on a consultation expedition to inform an Oireachtas report that he is preparing on “What is required to develop the counties along the west coast of Ireland, both in economic and social terms.”
The report is part of a wider Sinn Féin campaign which Senator Doherty launched at this year’s Ard Fheis around the regeneration of the West.
Senator Doherty visited Cork on Monday for a number of engagements with business associations and campaigning groups.
Speaking ahead of his  engagements he said, “Sinn Féin is committed to fighting for the regeneration of the West of Ireland and is actively engaging with communities up and down the west coast in order to identify and seek solutions to the problems they face.
“I have secured the agreement of the Oireachtas Committee on Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to complete a report on what is required to develop the counties along the west coast of Ireland, in economic and social terms.
“The report will identify infrastructure and public service deficiencies; the impediments to job creation; potential sectors for development and initiatives and interventions required to revitalise the region. This will be an important tool in promoting within the Oireachtas how government must urgently address the imbalance in the state’s regional development.
“In addition my colleague Martin Ferris secured the agreement of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to produce a report on ‘What is needed to ensure the future viability of farming and fishing in the West of Ireland’.
“This report will look at issues such as farm incomes and off farm incomes, potential growth sectors in farming and fishing related activities in the rural economy as well as looking at how to maximise the economic return for those who remain in farming and fishing. Deputy Ferris recently concluded his constituency tour and has now begun the initial work of compiling the report.
“For too long the West of Ireland has been neglected. While other regions enjoyed the fruits of the Celtic Tiger the west was in decline. It is time for the communities to stand together, to agree a common platform and begin the fight back for the west of Ireland.”
On Tuesday Doherty visited Galway, Connemara and the Aran Islands. The Senator said that he is particularly concerned at the neglect of island communities off the west coast.
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