A series of meetings are to take place in the European Commission and Parliament in Brussels this week on the decline of the Northern and Western region, comprised of Connacht, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus is set to hold high-level engagements on the issue, which will include meetings with Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, and Chair of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee, Younous Omarjee.
Midlands Northwest MEP Chris MacManus has been meeting with key regional stakeholders in recent weeks and intends to bring their proposals to the decision makers in Europe.
MEP MacManus said: “Next week I will hold a series of engagements in Brussels focused on addressing the decline of the Northern and Western region.”
“The decline of our region in recent years has been alarming and points to a lack of understanding of the challenges we face, both at Government and EU level.”
“The Northern and Western region is unique as the only region in Ireland downgraded to being a region in transition and a moderate innovator region. Furthermore a recent report carried out by the European Parliament confirmed that the region is stuck in a development trap, and has been for many years.”
“These are very worrying indicators and I have organised a series of high-level engagements to highlight these issues with key decision-makers in Brussels and stress the need for urgent action to ensure that this decline is reversed.”
MacManus held many preparatory meetings with various regional representatives ahead of the meeting with the Commission. “In recent weeks I have met with a number of regional stakeholders, including the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Western Development Commission, Ireland West Airport, Atlantic Economic Corridor Business Forum, University of Galway and the recently established Atlantic Technological University, to hear their views on how these challenges can be addressed.”
“Many of the same themes emerged from these meetings – the need to address infrastructural deficits, in particular public transport, broadband and renewable energy; the exclusion of the West from the TEN-T Core Network; the lack of autonomy for regional decision making and finance; Government’s failure to adequately utilise EU funding as well as a number of other specific issues.”
“Addressing these issues would bring investment, opportunity and high value jobs to our region and ensure it can thrive. I will be stressing the urgency of the situation and the need for positive discrimination in favour of our region to European officials over the coming days.”
MacManus concluded, “Balanced regional development and a thriving Northern and Western region benefits the whole country, not just the region itself, and it’s time that this was recognised and delivered on.”