Lack of respect for communities in rural Ireland,


The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has called on all service providers in rural Ireland, particularly state services, to seriously explore and take full account of the needs of rural communities when the curtailment or abandonment of services are being considered.

“SVP members visiting homes throughout rural Ireland witness on a daily basis the isolation, loneliness and difficulty caused by the relentless curtailment of services in rural Ireland in recent years - closures of post offices, garda stations, schools, transport services, banks, shops and pubs," says Brendan Hennessy, SVP Social Justice & Policy officer.

"Unilateral announcements, particularly by state bodies, show a huge disrespect for rural communities despite the lip service often paid to preserving such communities. These arbitrary decisions allow no time for the communities themselves to have an input in the decisions or an opportunity to seek sustainable alternatives – and it’s usually the poorer, weaker sections of society that bear the brunt of such decisions," says Mr Hennessy

"SVP supports Irish Rural Link in its view that rural communities are willing to examine the health and well-being of any service and work in an honest way with the service provider.
"Last  week for example the announcement by Bus Eireann that it is dropping 15 rural routes and cutting back on many others doesn’t allow time for local communities to examine the issues and seek ways of finding replacement services.

"CSO figures put 40% of the population living in rural areas and it is understandable that some services may be unsustainable in terms of the level of profitability that the service providers expect.

"But that places a responsibility on service providers to communicate, well in advance of any closures, the problems they are having and place their concerns before the communities affected," said Mr Hennessy

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