Cllr Mc Brearty has called on the government to remember struggling towns and villages in Donegal.
A public meeting was held on Tuesday 26th January in the St Johnston & Carrigans Family Resource Centre to discuss and highlight issues affecting the community
Resource Centre Project Co-Ordinator – Mary Crossan said “It is critical that we voice collective needs and issues in our areas and to exercise our democratic right and duty to vote, to make sure all voices are heard and future governments understand and support the development and growth of neglected rural border communities in Donegal”
One issue the community are dealing with is Unemployment. It seems one of the major causes is the fact that there is no broadband provision in St. Johnston.
This doesn’t allow for development and expansion of internet based businesses for employers, entrepreneurs working from home, students accessing course information or research studies.
Cllr Mc Brearty told Donegal Daily, “It is ridiculous that in 2016, there are towns in Donegal without broadband!
“This limits opportunities for young people and inward investment opportunities and therefore has a knock on effect in development of the whole area.”
“The public meeting also drew attention to the Inadequate Roads Infrastructure and poor signage as another barrier to business development and inward investment.
“The saving grace could have been the St Johnston & Carrigans residents could commute for business or educational opportunities, however the public meeting highlighted the fact that there are no transport systems linking with Letterkenny or other main urban centres in Donegal and no link up transport to Dublin, Galway or any other part of the country”
“The lack of transport to essential services inhibits this area from moving forward with the rest of the county.
“The transport issue goes beyond business and education opportunities. People in these areas find it hard to access health care services. This can be extremely difficult for people in vulnerable potions in particular people with cancer and other long term illnesses.”
As with many other areas, St Johnston and Carrigans have their own problems with Social Housing and Estates. These problems are wide ranging and include everything from no street lighting, sewage running down the roads, potholes and road surfaces, to sewage systems using developers bonds which are being held by Donegal County Council and more!
Cllr Mc Brearty added, “This is not acceptable, to expect people to live in these conditions. There needs to be upgrading and improvement to bring existing social housing up to standard both inside and out.
“The government need to provide adequate funding so people in these areas have the living conditions they deserve.”
The public meeting also discussed the lack of community Gardai, with numbers being reduced to two officers which are shared with neighbouring communities.
Cllr Mc Brearty continued,“We must ensure that there are adequate Garda numbers on our border county of over half a million people.
“This community are wide open to cross border criminals and have seen many incidents occur where there was little evidence of criminals being brought to justice or property being returned. Accountability in policing is vital.”
Drugs are also an issue in the area with great efforts being made by the local family resource centre working in partnership with other agencies to provide awareness and information to young people and parents.
The public meeting found that there is a need for increased Garda resources to be invested in Donegal to deal with the supply and availability of drugs.
Cllr Mc Brearty concluded, “We cannot have it that towns and villages in County Donegal are living in these circumstances. Every town and village in Donegal should have the same rights, same access and the same opportunities as the whole of Donegal and further. I will stand up for St Johnston and Carrigans and town and villages like them. If elected I will make changes for equal opportunities for all.”