Sustaining and growing local jobs will be a key election issue in rural constituencies on Roscommon-Galway TD has said.
Independent TD Denis Naughten said that rural areas are losing jobs every week in favour of cities, something which will be a crucial issued in the upcoming general election.
The economy is close to full employment now, but people in rural areas still “leave their homes early in the morning, sit in traffic and arrive home late in the evening because they are unable to work locally,” Naughten said.
Deputy Naughten acknowledged that there has been significant investment in infrastructure particularly in our towns and rural areas over the last four years, in sport, recreation and tourism facilities, digital hubs, broadband and enterprise centres.
This infrastructure must now be leveraged to ” convert this into local work opportunities, by relocating existing jobs from our cities as well as creating new jobs.”
“And this is not just in new technology, it’s also about supporting and growing our farming and food sectors with the focus on making our family farms financially viable by improving prices and supports.”
An announcement on the next general election could be made as soon as today. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he would make no announcement before meeting with the Cabinet to discuss a date this morning.
The Taoiseach also said that he will speak with the leader of the opposition, and the Dáil will reconvene as planned on Wednesday after the Christmas and New Year’s recess.
Denis Naughten said that there was little investment in rural areas in 2016, claiming that as the only independent rural minister he was determined to turn this around and was a key supporter of creating a new department to handle rural affairs as well as other investment initiatives in rural areas.
“But this investment now needs to be converted into local jobs right across Ireland which will not only help to support our local towns, schools & villages but it will also take huge pressure off our congested cities, like Dublin & Galway, which are struggling to cope,” concluded Denis Naughten.
It was previously believed that the next general election might take place in April or May, but an early February election now seems more likely with a no-confidence motion in Simon Harris due to come before the Dáil on February.
The government only narrowly won a vote of confidence on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy with the support of independents, and its probable the Taoiseach will want to avoid this ever coming to the floor.