Growing feeling on doorsteps that rural Ireland is being neglected
Broadband, roads and garda stations all likely to be raised
Problems accessing high-speed broadband in rural areas continue. Photograph: Alan Betson
There are 300,000 votes at stake in farming households, and the issues that arise on urban and rural doorsteps can differ greatly.
Of course there will be universal issues such as property tax, the bank bailout and the impact of austerity. But canvassers in the countryside can also expect to be grilled on what they are doing to prevent the closure of shops and businesses in rural towns and villages.
The loss of Garda stations is a major bone of contention and adds to the feeling that rural Ireland is being neglected, particularly with concerns mounting about the theft of machinery and 4x4s in recent months.
Problems accessing high- speed broadband in rural areas continue, but some people would just be happy if they could have a working landline.
And while the road infrastructure has improved dramatically in recent years, some rural roads are still testing the patience, and the car chassis, of many rural dwellers.
Grievances for farmers include the bureaucracy of farm inspections by agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and local authorities.
Farmers already pay water charges to local authorities because they are classified as non-domestic users. The Irish Farmers’ Association has called for a reduction of these charges now that the customer paying base is being extended to all households.
Getting planning permission for one-off houses for family members on farms continues to be an issue in many counties.
Depending on the part of the State the canvassers are in, issues such as wind turbines, illegal dumping and flooding could also surface.