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Senior Civil Servants Have Discovered Rural Ireland

Now the things I’ve come to know seem so confusin’
It’s gettin’ hard to tell what’s wrong from right
I can’t separate the winners from the losers anymore
And I’m thinking of just giving up the fight.

Good Christian Soldier,” Lyrics By Kris Kristofferson

An as yet unpublished report that will guide current Government policy on rural Ireland up until 2025, has discovered that the rural areas of Ireland have had twice the business failure rate as their larger urban counterparts, when it comes to a study of our economic downturn.

Despite 3.5 years of continuous cries of ‘Help,’ from rural dwellers, this report leaves sleepy Senior Civil Servants now considering whether perhaps a Government Department and a Minister of State should now be delegated, with responsibility for future Rural Development.

Other initiatives understood to have been identified by this Senior Civil Servants report include the re-energising of rural tourism.

I trust that the recent announcement by Cork County Manager Martin Riordan of three interpretive centres to be opened on Spike Island in lower Cork Harbour by the summer of 2015, at a cost of €40 million, will not be seen as the re-energising of rural tourism. It is also interesting to note that Bord Fáilte have confirmed it is reversing its initial decision not to grant aid for this project and will now release €2.5m for redevelopment of this island. Someone obviously had a word in someone’s “Shell Like,” (Nod, Nod, Wink and Wink.)  Do tell us why this decision was reversed Mr Riordan or should we be asking Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, one James “Jimmy” Deenihan, the Irish Fine Gael Teachta Dála for the Kerry North–West Limerick constituency, how this decision came about.

Mr James “Jimmy” Deenihan and Mr Noel Coonan were two of the people who failed to ensure that the Derrynaflan Hoard, latter stolen from Tipperary, was not returned for “The Gathering,” this year thus reducing tourism numbers to Co Tipperary, by some 25%, as my email records and other unanswered communications will attest.

In the past few days the Dáil have passed the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill after 77 TDs voted in favour of these cuts and new changes announced, and with only 46 opposing the most controversial parts of our recent Budget. These changes included the scrapping of the bereavement grant (77 votes to 43), cuts to maternity benefit, and a reduction in dole for new Social Welfare claimants who are aged under 26.

Just as a matter of interest did any of our readers see even one of our North Tipperary Government representatives in the Dáil, contributing to this debate? I ask this question as my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and these people may have taken up a space at the back of the class. Fobs need to be checked on more than Friday’s here Enda.

Scrapping Of The Bereavement Grant

We the elderly do not have to worry really about this, simply just leave our bodies to Medical Science and the State via one of the 5 medical colleges /universities, latter who in gratitude will provide an embellished coffin. They will cover the expense of (1) bringing the remains to Glasnevin Crematorium, (2) your cremation and (3) your ashes will be buried in the medical school’s private plot within two years of your death. So no problem for relatives here, unless of course you object to medical students standing around your stiffened freezing torso with a smile on their faces when they observe your hidden tattoos.

Maternity Benefit

The cuts to maternity benefit, I will not comment on this, other than to state I was very confused when supporting the Children’s Referendum. On  November 10th 2012, I went to the polls and voted in favour of the 31st amendment to the Constitution to strengthen the constitutional rights of children. Irish Citizens had lobbied for a well-resourced and strong Child and Family Support Agency that would be responsible for providing child protection services as well as adequate resources.  Obviously the child in the womb does not now come under this Constitutional protection provision, well not where maternity benefit is concerned.

Reduction In Dole For New Social Welfare Claimants

This Budget 2014 cut, of all the cuts made, was by far the most heartless for those leaving college who, particularly those living in rural areas, now are being forced to either emigrate or stay at home to end their lives in abject poverty.  As already stated on this site many times, the Irish Industrial Development Authority (IDA) have created more than 54% of jobs in Co Dublin, with 1,979  jobs being created in Co Cork during the past twelve months. Here in the County of Tipperary, alas in the South of our county a mere ten jobs were only put in place, and to equate this to North Tipperary, we saw not even one single job created, (Bottom of the overall job creation list nationally) during this same period.

Young people in Tipperary attempting to seek employment must commute for regular interviews to the larger cities if they are to gain employment. Commuter fares to Dublin cost a minimum of €50 return by train. Sure I hear you say, find accommodation in Dublin to cut commuter costs. Try to find accommodation which costs less than €450 per month in Dublin presently and then try to pay your landlord with the miserable pittance of €400 per month being offered by Social Welfare from January next, then expect to be evicted.

Time For Free Travel Passes To Those Under 26 Years

Perhaps the time has come to issue free travel passes to these young people under 26 years, particularly those who reside more than 50 miles from our larger areas of employment, namely our cities. Rural tax payers subscribe hugely to the cost of public transport in this country; subsidy’s which are mainly used to the benefit of large urban areas. Jobs are almost non-existent beyond An Pháil Shasanach.

The Commission on the Economic Development of Rural Ireland (CEDRA) was set up in September 2012 by Ministers Phil Hogan and Simon Coveney.  CEDRA have now sent their, as yet unpublished report, containing recommendations on how to maximise economic potential to Government. This report is understood to have found that one-third of working aged households are jobless, (Where are all the thousands of jobs this government claim to have created – gone over night?) as well as an increased business failure rate in rural areas. Rural town stimulus programmes and the up-skilling of thousands of rural dwellers is now a priority and I am not talking about free sweat shop employment in the form of TÚS or Jobsbridge.

Other initiatives understood to have been identified by these Senior Civil Servants in this report include having a minimum of 30 megabyte broadband download available to every business and home in rural Ireland by 2016. Something smells fishy here as our local politicians “Welcomed” the introduction of Broadband to rural Tipperary over a month ago. Well I had noticed download problems in Two-Mile-Borris, so were these politicians telling us Red-Necks from the Sticks, tiny little ‘porkers,’ to gain a newspaper headline? Surely not.

This completed and possibly leaked report is understood to be published within the next few weeks. Rural Ireland waits with bated breath.

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