Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill welcomes report into the development of Toraigh Island and Árainn Mhór
Fianna Fáil’s candidate in the Donegal South West Bye Election Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has today welcomed a report into the employment needs and the economic development potential of eleven islands, including Toraigh Island and Árainn Mhór in Donegal South West. This report acknowledges the significant investment by the Government in the islands. Over the period 1997 to 2010, almost €120m has been allocated by the Department Community Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs to Island communities. This unprecedented level of investment has resulted in significant improvements to access infrastructure both on the islands and at mainland locations serving the islands. While this has created and sustained employment on the islands, the report outlines important ways in which the employment and economic potential of the islands can be better harnessed.
The report’s recommendations relate to the following areas:
·Issues related to the cost of living and to improving the islands’ infrastructure;
·Cost factors that prevent the establishment and operation of commercial enterprises on the islands;
·The islands’ development potential and the employment needs of island communities;
·Recommendations about further targeted support measures which would be aimed at promoting sustainable development and creating jobs; and
·The costs and advantages relating to any of the new measures recommended to support investment.
Senator Ó Domhnaill said that the report could be used as a basis to develop further policies in relation to the islands in the coming years and that he hoped that some of the recommendations could be put in place in the short term at very little cost. He said, “To this end, it is important that we carry out a further examination of the various recommendations made in the report in consultation with the relevant Departments and state agencies in order to find the most practical method of putting these important recommendations into effect.”
The economic consultants, FGS Consulting, were commissioned by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs to compile the report under the direction of a steering committee made up of representatives from Comhar na nOileán, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Department itself.
A copy of the complete study is available on the Department’s website www.pobail.ie.