[Sinn Fein]

25th March 2002

MacManus supports WIN Campaign

Former Mayor and Sinn Fein election candidate for Sligo/Leitrim Councillor Seán MacManus has come out in support of the Western Infrastructure Now (WIN) Campaign.

Speaking in advance of the WIN Campaign meeting in Knock, Cllr. MacManus said: ``I welcome this community-based advocacy initiative. It is needed.

``Infrastructural development in the Northwest is one of my highest priorities. I fully support the recommendations of the Western Development Commission's ``State of the West'' report, and I have done so since they were released last July. I want increased jobs and industry for Sligo and Leitrim. I want broadband access, and an adequate power supply for our region. I want our roads upgraded and enhanced public transport. I am already on record on these issues, and I will continue to advocate for development of the Northwest until we get the changes we need and deserve.

``Last summer the United Chambers of Commerce identified three critical infrastructural deficits: broadband, energy, and roads. In the last several weeks, the Fianna Fail-led government has failed Sligo on all three of these, and has failed Leitrim on two.

``Fianna Fail's record shows that Northwest development is not their priority. If they can't give us a firm commitment to funding these basic development needs during an election year, it is highly doubtful that they would bother themselves to deliver if they returned to power. Especially in the current economic climate. While the boom was still on they refused to commit extra funding to supplement the National Development Plan monies as recommended by the Western Development Commission. Indeed, the funds we were promised under the Plan appear to be on hold. As their term nears its end, we can say conclusively that Fianna Fail have failed to deliver for the people of the Northwest. Now their time is up. 

``Fianna Fail Deputy Ellis wastes his time criticising the Western Development Commission and the Council for the West instead of pushing his own party and his own government to deliver on infrastructure in this region. This is appalling. How dare he blame development advocates for the failures of his administration?''

MacManus concluded: ``We need Dail representatives that will stand up for this region. The Sinn Fein team has a record of standing up for what's right, and we plan to pursue justice for the neglected regions of this country. I have every confidence that, come this May, voters will not let the establishment parties off the hook for failing to deliver for the Northwest during the economic boom. We will send them a message that it's time for change.''

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