CORK North West Fianna Fáil TD and election candidate Aindrias Moynihan has called 2019 ‘a lost year’ for job creation in the Múscraí Gaeltacht, with a ‘failure to market the area’ after it emerged that there was no net increase in Údaras na Gaeltachta-supported jobs in Cork last year.
‘In 2019, there was a net increase in Údarás na Gaeltachta-supported jobs of 219 across all the Gaeltacht areas. This was almost double the increase of 2018. There was a net increase in every other Gaeltacht area, but not in Múscraí,’ said the deputy.
‘This is further evidence of the imbalance in the approach by state agencies to job creation in the area. A few weeks ago, I raised how the number of IDA visits to Cork was excessively low. It now appears that the Múscraí Gaeltacht is affected by a similar problem, in relation to job creation by Údarás.’
He said the fact that there has been no increase in Cork in 2019, shows a lack of commitment to the area, and as a result to the Irish language from the government.
‘The Múscraí Gaeltacht has a great deal going for it. I welcome, for example, the recent opening of G-Teic in the area, as well as plans to develop Coláiste Íosagáin. These initiatives can help create jobs in the area and in comparison with the rest of the Gaeltachtaí, Cork is only treading water.’
He added that job creation in the area is one of the best ways to attract and keep younger people in the area.
‘To do this the State needs to properly market the strength of the Múscraí Gaeltachta, through the various State agencies, including Údarás, and showcase the region to potential employers.’
Meanwhile, Deputy Moynihan has also expressed his disappointment with Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s (TII) failure to provide funding for new measures to make the N22 between Macroom and Ballincollig safer. He said increased traffic volumes on the roads in recent years exacerbated the problem, particularly at the Nutricia, Dunisky, Lissarda, Kilcondy, Stage Cross, Castlemore and Farnanes junctions.
‘People are growing increasingly worried about safety along the route, particularly at certain junctions. Disappointingly, despite a feasibility study into the upgrading of these junctions being prepared, there is no funding provided for works in the 2020 allocation from TII.’
Deputy Moynihan added that while he welcomes the progress on the N22 from the county bounds to Macroom, it is important that they don’t lose sight of the dangers that road users from east of Macroom to Cork city are facing on a daily basis.
‘I am concerned that this minister and his government are not planning for the future. The N22 is only getting busier, and once the Macroom by-pass is completed in the coming years, traffic will arrive onto junctions like Nutricia, quicker than before, which is adding to the road safety concerns that locals already have.’