Economic and social problems are not confined to urban areas. Rural areas
throughout Ireland have a long history of political and economic
marginalisation. While unemployment is rife, there is also substantial
underemployment, low incomes, high emigration and poor access to health and
Sinn Fein believes that the objective for rural areas should be a healthy
and diverse economic and social environment where quality of life is
enhanced by equality of opportunity.
- An integrated strategy for rural development is required in terms of
partnerships between government, development agencies, private business
and, in particular, local communities so that full participation and
accountability takes place.
- Agricultural diversification into small industry and processing of
quality foods targeted at niche markets needs to take place. This will
help to ensure that farming continues to play an important part in the
- There must be improved transport infrastructure to increase access to
- Sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism should be developed that
meets the needs and wishes of local communities
- A rural investment bank, offering low-interest loans and technical
advice to small farmers and local areas starting community enterprises,
should be developed.