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'Grotesque and appalling': War of words erupts between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil

Éamon Ó Cuív has accused the government’s senior party of lying about protecting rural Ireland.

FIANNA FÁIL’S AGRICULTURE spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has accused Fine Gael of distorting the facts about its approach to rural communities.

Ó Cuív said the senior government partner’s recent ‘Standing up for Rural Ireland‘ is a “grotesque distortion of the facts” and “insulting to people’s intelligence”.

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“This Government has done nothing but attack rural communities since it came into power.

“When he took office, Taoiseach Enda Kenny decided to abolish the ministry of rural development, a cabinet position which had been created by a previous Fianna Fáil led Government in 2002.”

Ó Cuív added that the Fine Gael-Labour coalition “has an abysmal record when it comes to investment in rural Ireland”.

He said the two parties had “made significant negative changes to the Farm Assist Scheme and the Rural Social Scheme”, closed rural Garda stations and abolished the CLÁR programme that “brought so much vital infrastructure to dispersed rural communities”.

“The misrepresentation of this appalling record as an effort to stand up for rural Ireland is deeply insulting to the intelligence of our people and will convince no one.”

Fine Gael refuted Ó Cuív’s claims, with a spokesperson telling TheJournal.ie: “There is no end to Fianna Fáil’s hypocrisy.”

“Fine Gael entered government at a time when rural Ireland was under severe pressure due to Fianna Fáil’s economic crash. Now Fine Gael is investing in and reshaping local services and working to create new opportunities. Sectors such as tourism are agri-food thriving again after the Fianna Fáil crash.

Fianna Fáil tried to deliver rural jobs through a speculation fuelled property bubble, we are helping to deliver sustainable jobs through our Regional Action Plans tailored to the requirements of each specific region. Incidentally Fianna Fáil haven’t said how they would add a single job to the economy since 2011.

“They are the party that closed 288 post offices and totally neglected rural broadband throughout their term in Government, something we’re working to address with the National Broadband Plan.”

Read: Another TD hangs up his hat: Frank Feighan won’t be running for Fine Gael

Revealed: How Fine Gael plans to fight the next general election

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