The cabinet as it travels the N4 in the short distance from Castlebaldwin into Sligo will see tragic evidence of government failure under different administrations to provide a safe road to the main town of the North West. Urging the government to note the very many roadside crosses which dot the route, indicating ten fatalities and a total of 240 casualties from the launch of the 2000-2006 National Plan up to 2014, she called for them to reflect that failure to provide a safe route to Sligo which had grave human outcomes as well as economic disadvantage.
Urging the government to note the very many roadside crosses which dot the route, indicating ten fatalities and a total of 240 casualties from the launch of the 2000-2006 National Plan up to 2014, she called for them to reflect that failure to provide a safe route to Sligo which had grave human outcomes as well as economic disadvantage.
“This loss of life has occurred under different administrations, and successive National Plans, and represents unacceptable failure by all government parties”, she said.
What was common to all governments concerned was to make numerous commitments to balanced regional development and, in particular, to deliver the quality of road to Sligo necessary to increase safety and assist the ability of the region to compete for jobs.
Taoiseach’s John Bruton, Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny made numerous commitments to balanced regional development, but in twenty-four years of promises it had not happened, she said. “Neither has the full commitment of numerous political party members in power to deliver a competitive road to Sligo been met and the latest published draft plan reinforced discrimination against Sligo and the entire North West”, she charged.
Back in 1994, John Bruton, the then Taoiseach, launched the Western Development Partnership Board in Athenry, with a promise of significant resources, a fraction of which was delivered, she said. The last time the Cabinet came to the West was in 2000 when they came to Ballaghaderreen and then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, said that the Government ‘are determined to end the regional imbalances that have disfigured modern Ireland’. In launching the 2007-2013 NDP, Bertie Ahern said ‘by ensuring that the National Spatial Strategy is fully reflected in implementation of this plan, we will achieve balanced regional development, which is crucial to our ability to absorb the huge population growth predicted over the next twenty years’. The lip service commitment to balanced regional development was made every few years, she said and perhaps the reason why the present cabinet was to meet in Sligo on Friday next, was to offset the strong reaction to the latest draft plan in the North West.
“What we need to hear on Friday next are positive, practical, costed proposals which will deliver early competitive infrastructure for the Regions and particularly for the economic hub of the North West and high-speed connectivity to Sligo and the surrounding counties of Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Donegal”, Marian concluded.