[Sinn Fein]

25 July 2001

WDC Report Damning of Deregulation - Sinn Fein

``Western Development has been set back by ideologically driven moves to deregulate essential services such as Telecommunications and Electricity.''

This is according to Sinn Fein Mayo Candidate Vincent Wood. He was commenting the Western Development Commission report ``The State of the West.''

``The problem facing us here is that both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and their supporters in the PD's and Labour are committed to deregulation. EU directives cannot be allowed to create two-tier provision of telecommunication and electricity capacity. The government are using EU directives as an excuse. The French have ignored the same directives in the interests of their people and the WDC's report outlines good reasons why we should do likewise.

``It is also clear that there is no comprehensive strategy by the government to address the totality of what is required here in the west. In fact, to all intense and purposes, the government have acknowledged that they don't have any significant plans to take direct responsibility here.

``This was clearly illustrated by Minister Mary O Rourke during her recent visit. She made it clear that the government were not prepared to take Knock Airport seriously and she washed her hands of it by refusing any direct government assistance in a substantial development of the airport.

``In a major policy statement widely reported in the local media in recent weeks, I outlined the need for a strategic approach to western development. Politicians of one party or another can argue about the upgrading or building of this road or that or of grant aided or government funding for Knock Airport, but what is really required is an integrated strategic plan to ensure that the west region has the same equality of opportunity as anywhere else.

For further information please contact Vincent Wood on 094 30811/087 2986084

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