[Sinn Fein]

20th October 2001

Scollon Resignation a `Damning Indictment' Of Government policy

Sinn Fein's Mayo candidate Vincent Wood has described comments made by Western Development Commission Chief Liam Scollon, on his resignation, as a damning indictment of this government's approach to Western development

Addressing a meeting of party activists in Claremorris Mr. Wood said:

``When the government effectively binned the recently WDC report `State of the West' it must have placed Liam Scallon in an impossible position. The fact that the WDC is a government sponsored organisation with a brief to report on the issue of Western Development makes the governments failure to support its recommendations all the more difficult to comprehend.

``The government's response - such as it is - is the Clár initiative recently announced by Minister Eamon Ó Cúiv. Whilst any government investment in the region must be welcomed, the amounts contained in the Clár program fall far short of what is required to begin the process of investment that we need in the west.

``We have to measure this government's response against news that the National Development Plan is running behind schedule and at 20% above cost. With a shrinking exchequer surplus and government telling us to lower our expectations, the signs are that western development will be once again put on the long finger.

``People campaigning for an effective and sustainable strategy to ensure that the West be allowed to catch up with the rest of the country must keep up the pressure and continue to argue for positive discrimination in favour of this region which has been neglected by successive governments containing Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and Progressive Democrat members.''

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