Ru­ral Wex­ford un­der at­tack claims FF party

New Ross Standard - - NEWS - By DAVID LOOBY

AROUND forty peo­ple at­tended a meet­ing called Pro­tect­ing Ru­ral Ire­land at the Horse & Hound in Bal­lina­boola.

Or­gan­ised by Cathaoir­leach of New Ross Mu­nic­i­pal Dis­trict Cllr John Flem­ing and Cllr Michael Whe­lan, the `Hands Off Our Vil­lage’ meet­ing in­vited de­bate on post of­fice clo­sures through­out the county, the lack of broad­band in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, the emer­gence of so­lar farm plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions and school clo­sures, among other is­sues af­fect­ing ru­ral ar­eas.

Fianna Fáil spokesper­son on com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the en­vi­ron­ment and nat­u­ral re­sources Timmy Doo­ley was the guest speaker at the event, the lat­est or­gan­ised by Fianna Fáil coun­cil­lors on lo­cal is­sues.

Cllr Flem­ing in­tro­duced the speak­ers and high­lighted the need for a stronger vis­i­ble pres­ence of gardaí in vil­lages. He also spoke about the lack of in­fra­struc­ture in ru­ral ar­eas and on plan­ning is­sues af­fect­ing ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Cllr Whe­lan said even though Wex­ford County Coun­cil are work­ing in con­junc­tion with a pri­vate de­vel­oper to build an ad­vance fac­tory in New Ross, there will be lit­tle to at­tract po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees to live in vil­lages sur­round­ing the town when post of­fices and shops are clos­ing due to a lack of an ad­e­quate busi­ness plan for the for­mer and the lack of foot­fall for the lat­ter. Cllr Whe­lan said the lack of sew­er­age in­fra­struc­ture is an­other is­sue.

Mr Doo­ley spoke about how busi­ness has fallen by 70 per cent in ru­ral post of­fices over re­cent years, adding that the Government needs to pro­vide sup­ports to post­mas­ters and post­mistresses who carry out nu­mer­ous services for their cus­tomers, in­clud­ing help­ing them to fill out forms.

Foulksmills post­mistress Caro­line Foxe gave an emo­tional speech about the tough de­ci­sion she faced in clos­ing the doors of her branch next month.

John Joyce, a se­cu­rity busi­ness owner based in Castle­boro, Clon­roche, said the broad­band ser­vice stops half way down his lane, and some of the speak­ers also high­lighted the poor broad­band ser­vice to ru­ral parts of the New Ross dis­trict. Cllr Lisa McDon­ald spoke about com­ing from a ru­ral back­ground. She said she lives in the coun­try­side, but is con­cerned by the way ru­ral Ire­land has been for­got­ten about by the Government.

Au­di­ence mem­bers sym­pa­thised with Ms Foxe on her dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to close.

Cllr Whe­lan said he was happy with the con­tri­bu­tions made from the au­di­ence mem­bers dur­ing a ques­tions and an­swers ses­sion at the end of the night.

Cllr Michael Whe­lan.

Timmy Doo­ley TD.

Cllr John Flem­ing.

Cllr Lisa McDon­ald.

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