7th November 2008

‘Let us seize government invitation’says West Council

Commenting on the Government’s initiative to foster economic development in North West Mayo and facilitate a dialogue on local issues relating to the Corrib Gas project, the Council for the West has welcomed the moves as

“timely, balanced, inclusive, comprehensive and meaningful.” Council Chairman Sean Hannick said the Community Forum for Development in North West Mayo as proposed by the Government was a holistic approach that deserved to be give a fair hearing by all interests in the region. 

“For too long the debate has been around a single issue, the Corrib Gas find and how it might be utilized. In a sense, that has led to differing views from differing groups while the Government, which should have been playing a much more helpful and understanding role from the outset, stood back when leadership and vision were needed to alleviate a difficult situation,” said Mr Hannick.

“There are many issues affecting communities in North West Mayo, including declining populations in many parishes, lost opportunities in many sectors, including  lack of infrastructure, a paucity of initiatives in renewal

energy, particularly in relation to wind and wave power which the region has in abundance. And, of course, our wonderful and vast marine potential.

“The lack of public transport, poor broadband and the promotion of a unique tourism brand are other items that local communities have been calling attention for many years.

Mr. Hannick added that, like the Government and so many other interests, the Council for the West looked forward to the day when the Corrib Gas is brought ashore for the benefit of the our country and the local community.

“That will, of course happen. It is inevitable. But in reaching a consensus that works for the good of all and puts no one at a disadvantage, the bigger picture must not be ignored, and for that and other reasons the decision by

the government to set up the Forum and to continue to work for solutions must be welcomed as a very positive decision,” he added.

He said every party should be prepared to engage in a dialogue that could hold many benefits for the region, and for the country. For its part, he said the Council for the West looked upon the initiative as a new beginning,

a chance for all to come together and work out their differences. Taken in the right spirit, it could represent a

win-win situation for all.

“By becoming involved and by pledging to look at the larger picture as represented by grossly disadvantaged region of North West Mayo which for decades has been neglected, the Government is sticking out its neck. Let us take up the invitation by embracing the Forum in a creative and enterprising way so that the outcome benefits the people and their communities. There is a chance here to do something really novel and constructive, on so many fronts and in so many formats. Let us all seize the moment and go forward together,” added Mr Hannick.