Penrose outlined the actions the Government must take to improve life in rural communities in light of Brexit.

“There are many challenges facing rural Ireland, with Brexit being the main one. Farming organisations have said today that farming and the food and drinks industry must be one of the Taoiseach’s top priorities in the Brexit negotiations. They are not wrong. We have already seen the mushroom industry decimated by the effect of Brexit and we cannot afford to have any other industry suffer in the same way.”

Midlands focus

He called on the new Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, to place a renewed focus on jobs for those in the midlands, northwest and mid-east regions. Currently, the midlands has the lowest number of IDA Ireland-supported jobs of any region, followed closely by the northwest and mid-east. “If regionalisation and development of the regions is going to mean anything, the minister should start in the midlands. State investment is critical to securing foreign investment and IDA Ireland must spearhead this in small towns.”


“The Tánaiste must now prioritise investment in small towns across the regions but in particular in those areas that have not benefited from the recovery in employment. There is no substitute for infrastructural investment by the State for long-term development. There is no substitute for advanced factories and offices, high-speed broadband, good-quality roads and public transport connections,” Penrose said.

“Once super fast broadband reaches an area success follows. Connectivity is a key... talk is cheap but bringing the whole community together and installing the necessary infrastructure can bring results,’’ he added.

Minister Ring knows that villages are being decimated...Petrol stations and newsagents are disappearing

Penrose also highlighted the work needed by the newly appointed Minister for Community and Rural Affairs, Michael Ring TD. “Minister Ring knows that villages are being decimated...Petrol stations and newsagents are disappearing...They pay the proper wage and they pay their taxes. There is no black economy in those shops but they are being decimated by Government policy.”

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