In one of his most outspoken attacks Donegal deputy Joe McHugh has accused ‘Dublin centric’ civil servants of failing to address the needs of places like Donegal.
Speaking in the debate in the Dail yesterday, during the second stage of the Finance Bill, Deputy McHugh said it wasn’t good enough for the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to take a group of potential investors on what he described a s ‘a grand tour of the Pale’ while failing to bring them any further north than Ashbourne.
He commented: “Houses prices in Dublin are beginning to rise; in fact, they have rise my up to 12% so far this year.
“But, for example, I know of a young couple in Donegal who bought a site, paid for it, built their house up to ‘the square’ and now they have come to a halt - they can’t get the money to put a roof on it.
“Why can’t we get schemes in place to help people like this?
“50,000 euro would finish their house.”
Deputy McHugh said there needed to be incentives put in place for areas like Donegal.
“Things are starting to come around but we need to get people back to work. We need to have real jobs for real people.
“We need a strategy to ensure that rural areas are not left behind.
“For example, there should be incentives to build houses in places like Donegal.
“And if you can’t get money to build a house why is there not an option to buy a house in a ghost estate?
‘We need a strategy, we need a real plan.
“Any recovery in rural areas will not come about by accident. We need to create jobs to get people working again.”
And Deputy McHugh said the e vidence of what he described as ‘city led’ recovery was to be seen right across the western world.
“This kind of ‘city led’ economic recovery is being witnessed right across the globe.
“For example across the water in 2007 the London and south east areas of England recorded 37% of all economic growth. That was pretty substantial even then.
“But this year that figure has shot up to 46% which means there is huge disparity. The North East of England is in massive decline and is not benefiting at all The same is true in America where the big cities are starting to grow.”
The Donegal deputy said it was vital that Dublin civil servants started to think ‘outside the box’.He went on: “The agri-sector is doing well at the moment and that this to be welcomed but the rural economy is not all about agriculture. Many people want to live in rural areas, in rural communities and that is a legitimate choice, Not everyone wants to live in a city. And the opportunites should exist for them to do so.”