Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Western Development Commission: Discussion with Chairman Designate
There is a saying, "Fail to plan, plan to fail", of which I am sure Mr. McGuinness is aware. One of the best documents I have ever read about the west, including County Donegal and the areas covered by Mr. McGuinness, is entitled, The State of the West: Recent Trends and Future Prospects, subtitled Blueprint for the West. In July 2001 it outlined the spend that would be needed above and beyond what was being planned under the national development plan to enable the region to compete with the rest of the country. The plan made various recommendations, including some those suggested by Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh. Does Mr. McGuinness intend to produce a new plan, pulling together all of the issues faced in the area and taking a holistic view of everything, as a blueprint to drive us into the future? I am sure he is aware of the mantra - it is starting to become boring at this stage - "The Garda station is closing down; the small school is closing down and the GAA clubs are closing down." I could go on, but I am sure Mr. McGuinness has heard it one million times before. From what he said, it sounds as if he cares. I am terrified, however, that in 20 years there will be no town of Ballaghaderreen or Castlerea. Some will say I am being very negative in saying this, but I am not. I want people to wake up to the fact that this could happen. Will Mr. Guinness formulate a plan for the region, similar to the one produced in July 2001?