Aurivo is set to take the decision to move its headquarters from Tubbercurry to Silgo town, according to Independent MEP Marian Harkin.

Harkin expressed dismay at the decision and said when a business from a small rural town moves to a significantly bigger urban area, it reveals the difficulty facing those seeking to maintain the economic and social fabric of rural areas.

“I have worked at various times since the 1980s on regional development issues with, first, North Connacht Farmers Co-op, which evolved with amalgamations into Connacht Gold Co-op and subsequently became Aurivo. The basis for this co-operation was the consistent awareness that the co-op was prepared to play a role which was broader than just providing processing and farm related services to farmers.

“The Co-op was always conscious of its responsibility to the broader community which in turn participated in it by holding shares. It was the first to lead an Irish farmers protest in Brussels in 1974 and when called upon lobbied with me in Brussels, when I was Chairperson of the Council for the West, on the western development issue.”

She said there may be an overwhelming economic issue for Aurivo to move but it would be most regrettable if it reflected a lessening of the long standing commitment of the Society to assist in sustaining rural areas. The move from Tubbercurry flies in the face of the recent CEDRA report compiled under the Chairmanship of Pat Spillane which seeks to strengthen the position of rural towns, she said.

“However the decision to move Department of the Environment jobs from Tubbercurry raises even more serious questions about the commitment of the government to rural areas. Having regard to the fact that the primary responsibility for delivering the recommendations of the CEDRA Report has been given to the Department of the Environment the decision to close government offices in Tubbercurry is totally inexplicable.

“I believe that Aurivo should reconsider its decision to move from Tubbercurry while the cynical disregard shown by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government needs to be seriously questioned in view of their lead role in delivering the recommendations of the CEDRA Report.”