Galway’s rural economy suffers double blow

Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh at a seminar held in the Glenagle Hotel to launch a report by the All-Island Research Observatory, Maynooth University on the socio-economic profile of the seven Gaeltacht areas in Ireland. Pic: Seán Ó Mainnín

Galway’s Gaeltacht is in danger of total collapse unless the state lays the foundations to create sustainable and high-quality jobs in the region. That’s the dramatic warning this week from Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh on foot of the publication of a new report that looks at the socio-economic future for Ireland’s seven Gaeltacht regions.

And while the lack of investment is threatening Connemara’s future, the closure of rural post offices is equally endangering the future economic prospects of villages across the county.

That’s according to villagers in Eyrecourt – one of 18 Galway areas set to lose their post office – where they say the shut-down will immediately take €80,000 out of local circulation, with, in this instance, the Offaly village of Bannagher set to benefit.

Because that’s what the post office in Eyrecourt current pays out in pensions and other social welfare entitlements every week – a figure at least replicated in other Galway towns and villages which are also set to lose their service.

The post office closures mark another chapter in Ireland’s rural decline – but Senator Ó Céidigh claimed the situation was even more acute in Connemara where decline is inevitable unless there is a significant push to create sustainable and high-quality jobs in Gaeltacht regions.

“The Gaeltacht regions are dying, whether we want them to or not. If you take out areas on the east side of the city, take out Barna, Knocknacarra and Moycullen, the rest of the Gaeltacht is on its knees,” he said.

See full reports in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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