[Sinn Fein]

14th December 2001

Deregulation is hindering the economic development of rural ireland

Mayo County Councillor Gerry Murray has said that deregulation will not solve the economic problems of rural Ireland. Speaking at a meeting of Sinn Fein election workers in Kiltimagh he called on the Government to review its policy of selling off major state companies such as the ESB and Telecom Eireann.

"If the current economic inequalities that prevail west of the shannon are to be addressed in a meaningful manner, then it is absolutely imperative that Public Utilities, essential services, major infrastructure and our natural resources be kept in state ownership."

"There is a consensus among the established parties in Mayo that Government should neither be a stakeholder or a regulator in the economic life of the county. But the question must be asked whether or not the objectives of the National Spatial strategy can be achieved in such circumstances."

"It is Sinn Fein's view that the Government must and should play a pro active role in the economic life of the nation and the County in order to ensure that the people of rural Mayo have the same economic and social opportunities as their urban counterparts. To delegate that role to the Corporate sector via deregulation is an act of betrayal, and we already know to our cost that the Private Sector will not address infrastructure deficits in regions of low population density."

"The selling off of our Major State Companies by successive governments amounts to a refusal by our T.D.'s to control and determine the social and economic destiny of the people they represent."

"Not alone have they relinquished ownership of these important state assets, but they are no longer prepared to regulate them in the interests of the common good. All matters and issues now pertaining to telecommunications and electricity have been vested with so called 'Independent Regulators', thus ensuring that future Governments will have no input or role in the formation of Crucial and vital decisions pertaining to the economic development of rural Ireland."

Cllr Murray concluded. "In Mayo the Corrib Gas field and knock Airport are glaring examples of what happens when Governments relinquish control and ownership of natural resources and major infrastructure."

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