Government disregard of the west ‘an issue of serious concern’ – Harkin

“Unless I see very early indications that the incoming Government is prepared to deliver on my priority requirement of balanced regional development, my vote to support the formation of the Government is just that and nothing more – a vote for stability in a time of huge uncertainty.”

This was the reaction of independent TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marian Harkin to the cabinet composition announced by the new Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Saturday (June 27), which she described as a “disregard for the concerns of the people of the west and north-west”.

There are nine senior ministers for the greater Dublin area, but none for Connacht and Donegal and this is an issue of serious concern.

“My vote for the establishment of this Government was based on the immediate need for a stable Government to tackle the challenges of the Covid-19 epidemic and the serious economic outcomes which will arise from Brexit,” she said.

“The Irish people made their decision in February and it was time that the members of Dáil Éireann agreed on a Government to bring stability amid the Covid-19 crisis and the potential chaos of Brexit,” she added.

When in negotiations with the coalition parties on the formation of the Government, she stressed the need for more balanced regional development.

She also asked for the recognition of the fact that the European Union had downgraded the economic status of the west and north-west of Ireland to their disadvantaged status 20 years ago.

“I will judge each of these ministers on their specific plans and policies and, more importantly, I will hold them and this Government to account for their delivery to the north-west,” she concluded.