‘Rural Affairs Department won’t know its full remit or have staff for another 8 weeks’

The new Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and Gaeltacht will not know its full remit, will not fully function nor will it have its staff for another eight weeks, according to Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin.

The Meath West TD also said that after waiting for a government for 70 days, we have the crazy situation that the new Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, does not know what she is in charge of.

“She will not have the necessary staff in place for another eight weeks which means that the department will not be able to fully function.”

This has the effect of preventing TDs from fulfilling their responsibilities in these important areas.

“Parliamentary Questions in their entirety will be prevented. Oireachtas Committee meetings will not be able to comprehensively function.”

The delay on setting up the department means that it will be September, six months after the election before TDs are fully able to deal with these pivotal areas, the Sinn Fein TD said.

Earlier this month, Minister Humphreys said that as someone who has lived all of her life in rural Ireland, she understands the issues, challenges and opportunities it faces.

“The Government needs to take a fresh approach to rural Ireland, to ensure that our towns and villages are not left behind as the economy continues to grow.

“We must rural-proof our policies, right across Government, to ensure they are having a positive impact on rural communities,” she said.

Minister Humphreys also said that she will be developing a new Town and Village Renewal Scheme in time for next year’s Budget.