[Sinn Fein]

29th October 2001

Sinn Fein condemns social deficit

Sinn Fein County Councillor Gerry Murray has called for the introduction of a special tax designation scheme for Rural Ireland that would specifically target the very serious social and recreational deficit that currently exists in so many of our rural communities.

``Many parents in rural Ireland would like their teenagers to have the opportunity to access the wide range of social and recreational facilities that are currently available to their urban counterparts.''

``At the moment young people have to travel to the main urban areas to avail of such facilities as Cinemas and Bowling alleys, often entailing round trips in excess of eighty miles, the lack of such infrastructure is a major factor in the drift of population from rural to urban Ireland. If the Government is not prepared to address this deficit with exchequer funding, then they should seriously consider introducing targeted schemes that would encourage the provision of such facilities by allowing tax relief of up to 100%. of capital costs for all such projects. Such schemes should be an integral part of the National Spatial Strategy.''

``The main political parties seem to be totally out of touch with the needs of Rural Ireland's young population, and have failed dismally to appreciate the crucial role that such infrastructure has to play in improving their quality of life.''

The Charlestown based Councillor concluded by saying. ``Quality of life issues, as much as economic factors now determine where people put down their roots and choose to live. But sadly successive Governments have failed to grasp this fundamental fact, and have been blissfully oblivious to the vital role that proper social, cultural and recreation infrastructure can play in achieving balanced regional development.''


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