Finding routes to rural renewal
Sir, – Minister for Rural Affairs Ann Phelan says action may be taken to prevent supermarkets being built in rural areas, but the closure of Garda stations and post offices will continue (Front Page, August 16th).
Donegal – Ireland’s most deprived county – has seen this approach before.
The Government took decisive action – it cancelled the A5 road link to Dublin and introduced the Wild Atlantic Way which, like Government policy, leads nowhere in both directions. – Yours, etc,
Dr JOHN DOHERTY,
Cnoc an Stollaire,
Sir, – Further to your coverage of the issue in your Weekend supplement (August 16th), the lifeblood is draining from rural Ireland. There are not enough people nor is there enough money to sustain communities and small businesses. Houses and holiday homes are empty and undervalued. In contrast, in the cities, people scramble to afford decent housing in safe environments.
Surely, therefore, one possible solution to revitalising rural Ireland would be to find ways to encourage all those who can function remotely – writers, artists, academics, advisers, engineers and retirees – to consider the joys of living away from traffic in the wonderful environments of countryside and coastline.
To provide the necessary incentives, Ann Phelan is going to have to do the homework and persuade her colleagues in Government and the private sector of the long-term benefits to the country as a whole of investing in a first-class infrastructure in communication networks.
Easy access to broadband for all may be the eventual solution but it is a ways off yet and, in the meantime, one can provide first-rate communications services (internet, fax) by continuing to support and expand facilities in community centres, which play a huge role in rural life.
For the last decade, we have enjoyed living on the staggeringly beautiful Donegal coast, with stunning views, lovely neighbours, wild, windswept beaches and first-rate golf courses.
Without the support of a fantastic community centre staffed by great people and with very good communication facilities, it would not have been possible for us to remain here for substantial portions of each year.
There must be many like us who would be only too happy to trade a life of city strife for the joys and advantages of rural environments so long as business level communication services were available. – Yours, etc,
ALAN C NEWELL,