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Government failing on regional development, says Howlin during visit to Galway

12 September 2018

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Speaking as part of a two-day visit to Galway, Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin addressed some of the needs of the city and county.

Deputy Howlin said

"It was put to me recently that even if the IDA found a business that wanted to open a factory with 1000 jobs in Galway, it couldn't be done for lack of infrastructure.

"If true, that would indicate a fundamental problem with Ireland's strategy for regional development. We need to ensure that cities outside of Dublin have the capacity that they need, in terms of roads, electricity grid, Internet access as well as housing and health care services, so that they are attractive places to situate new businesses.

"I'd like to pay tribute to Labour's spokesperson on tourism, general election candidate and current mayor of Galway City, Níall McNelis.

"Níall has long championed the need for investment in housing, health services and childcare in Galway. All of these are crucial to the local population and workforce and their absence is an impediment to economic development in Galway.

"Housing costs are so acute that this is affecting students' ability to study at NUIG, which shows how the lack of investment in these fundamentals undermines important parts of the Galway economy.

"Mental health services are also a concern in Galway, as they are in other parts of the country. The very real personal costs of mental illness, alongside their significant economic impact, are more than enough reason why we need much greater investment in this area. Services must be made available when people need them. Waiting times for mental health services are particularly difficult, as people are experiencing a time of vulnerability and they need a rapid response from health services.

"Investment in Galway's road network is also a priority, and I know that Níall McNelis has argued that a ring road is essential to ease traffic congestion and permit the economy of Galway City to move forward.

"I look forward to working with Níall to make progress on all of these issues through Labour's work in local government and at a national level."