Stephen Collins: Death of rural Ireland is a myth

Painting changes in lifestyle as rural neglect could lead to wrong policy decisions

Far from demonstrating the poverty of rural Ireland, the decline in the use of post offices in villages and small towns reflects the fact that so many people living in the countryside are affluent enough to travel to big urban centres or modern supermarkets on the outskirts of towns to do their shopping. File photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins

Far from demonstrating the poverty of rural Ireland, the decline in the use of post offices in villages and small towns reflects the fact that so many people living in the countryside are affluent enough to travel to big urban centres or modern supermarkets on the outskirts of towns to do their shopping. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Rural Ireland is suffering from neglect and decay according to a widely accepted narrative which has shaped public debate and politics at local and national level for some time. The only problem is that it’s a myth.

Not only does the evidence not bear out the story of rural decline it flatly contradicts it. As with many other issues when the facts expose the hollowness of conventional wisdom they are simply ignored.

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