Campaigners want investment in northwest region infrastructure

Protesters bring appeal to Leinster House for motorway and broadband

Brendan Tierney of the Revive Northwest campaign group protesting outside Leinster House. The group are seeking a motorway connecting Sligo with Dublin and other improvements. Photograph: Eric Luke

Improvements to infrastructure in the northwest region are essential in order to attract jobs and investment and to allay the uncertainties of Brexit, a new campaign group has said.

About two dozen members of the Revive Northwest organisation travelled from Sligo to Leinster House on Wednesday to bring that message to TDs and Senators.

Holding a placard outside, Gene O’Carroll from Sligo said he wanted to highlight the lack of inward investment to Sligo and the general northwest area.

"There's a decline in the population and there's an overemphasis on investment coming into the greater Dublin area. Fifty per cent of the population is living in that area and a huge amount of it is internal migration coming from Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon," he said.


Mr O’Carroll said the area had excellent educational facilities.

“We have a leading Institute of Technology, we have some very good leading industries, but we would be looking for incentives to encourage inward investment and indigenous investment, similar to what has happened in Galway and the success there of the medical devices industry.”

Mr O’Carroll said the provision of proper broadband, and the improvement of the M4 motorway network needed to be accelerated and that politicians and senior civil servants had a role to play at policy level.

Independent councillor and mayor of Sligo, Marie Casserly, said the Northern & Western Regional Assembly was doing “great work” with chambers of commerce and local authorities to enhance the region’s attractiveness.

“But this is just to let them know [in Leinster House] that its come to a head and they can’t forget about us.”

Ms Casserly said she had five children and she wanted them, when they were older, to have the opportunity to work and live in the northwest.

Brexit had also created fears for businesses in the area. “We are right beside the Border and the fear of the unknown has brought it to a head. We are afraid we will be ignored if something isn’t done now.”

Self-employed businessman Brendan Tierney, also from Sligo, who founded the group along with Anthony Gray, said the people of the area did not want to be looking at a map in 30 years and see there was still no motorway there.

He said it would help to attract tourism and industry and an upgrade was also essential from a safety point of view.

“Yes, there are businesses closing in Sligo, but there are also businesses opening up. The people of Sligo are energetic, enterprising and creative. But we are saying ‘give us a chance to get people in here’.”