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Inadequate infrastructure is crippling Offaly

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A LACK of adequate infrastructure is crippling Offaly's development prospects.

This week a local TD said Offaly has immense potential but is being held back by an inadequate broadbrand structure and poor roads.

The County Council is crying out for more funding but has been hit by more road funding cuts this year.

Things are little better in neighbouring Tipperary and Laois where the lack of support for rural regions is also a problem.

This week Deputy Carol Nolan, Sinn Féin's Rural Affairs Spokesperson, said that fair play is needed outside of Dublin when it comes to road funding.

She said it's "disheartening" to see the amount given to Offaly and Laois to upgrade and maintain national routes cut in half this year to €3m.

Her comments came ahead of a meeting on Tuesday between Transport Minister Shane Ross and Edenderry councillors where the quality of local roads was discussed.

The Edenderry councillors argued that bad roads are holding back job creation in the north Offaly region.

Deputy Nolan said their argument holds true for all of Offaly. "I met Mr Paul Veale, the IDA representative, a couple of times," she commented, "and he told me that the IDA is not able to attract more Foreign Direct Investment to the midland counties because of an inadequate infrastructural system. The lack of highspeed broadband is an especial problem. It is holding us back."

She pointed out that there were no IDA site visits to Offaly in the first quarter of this year.

She said an important rural equality bill failed to pass in the Dáil just before the summer recess but it's planned to bring it before the Dáil again.

The Deputy added that another major issue is of course the housing crisis and homelessness which is getting worse throughout the country with no end in sight. "There are three thousand vacant houses in Offaly," she said, "which could be used to house families."

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