A lost opportunity to protect rural Ireland

INDEPENDENT Deputy Michael Collins has described the narrow defeat in the Dáil on a motion to halt the extension of county boundaries as another nail in the coffin of rural Ireland.

‘The motion that the Oireachtas Rural Independent Group was brought before the Dáil in an effort to halt the expansion of county boundaries that would see rural parts of the country left even more isolated and forgotten,’ Deputy Collins said.

The Motion when coming to be voted on had 3 counter motions from the Government, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein in what Deputy Collins said was to weaken his straight forward motion against the expansion into county boundaries Deputy Collins motion beat the Government Counter motion by 2 votes but the motion was ultimately defeated after a Fianna Fail counter amendment was supported by a margin of 66 votes for, to 62 against, with one abstention. What is galling about the result is that while many of the rural TD’s within Fianna Fail accepted our arguments; they still voted against our motion. 

‘As a member of the Rural Independent Group, it is our belief that the defeat of this motion will only consolidate the concerns that exist in many parts of rural Ireland regarding the dangers of forced boundary changes,’ Deputy Collins continued. We had tried to highlight the fact that there is a model of local governance emerging in this state, which is treating rural areas as slush funds to draw in extra revenue for urban and city areas.’

‘Local Authorities in rural parts of the country must have continuing certainty around funding streams. The defeat of this motion will make that certainty increasingly difficult to achieve,’ Deputy Collins said. What is galling about the result is that while many of the rural TD’s within all other parties accepted our arguments; they still voted against our motion. That is something they will have to account for to their own rural constituents.’

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