LETTER:The lights are being turned off all over rural Ireland

September 9th, 2018 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – It is noticeable from reading one of your headline reports in The Southern Star August 25th last, that the word alarming was in inverted commas.

The report centred around the high level of closures of rural pubs since 2005, most notably in Co Cork. 

The statistics speak for themselves. 

However, the more alarming reality is that the lights are being turned off in rural Ireland, with very little resistance from our ‘public representatives’.

The lucky inhabitants of rural Ireland enjoy the protection of the Department of Rural and Community Development, which is overseen by a senior minister. Furthermore, we have the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, which has responsibility for promoting and facilitating long-term economic and social progress across rural Ireland. 

This particular Government department is also overseen by another senior minister, assisted by a Minister of State.

So two government departments, two senior ministers (members of cabinet), a Minister of State, and – wait for it – rural Ireland also has an ambassador, (former Kerry GAA star Pat Spillane) oversee rural Ireland.

 So why is it facing a crisis?

Whatever happened to the Action Plan for Rural Development launched by the Government in January 2017, and was headed by the ambassador himself, Pat Spillane?

As Pat Spillane and his associates (our elected representatives) continue to sleep at the wheel, rural Ireland continues to experience the dissolution of the banks in rural Towns; a post office network continuing to be eroded; vanishing bus stops, population & GAA club decline, struggling rural school, poor broadband and pub closures, among others.

Will the next services to face the axe in rural Ireland will be our ambulance services? 

Where are the elected members of the opposition, who are supposed to be representing us while this destruction continues? 

And who is calling out Pat Spillane?

Emma Connolly’s article simply reflects what is ‘alarming’ with respect to rural Ireland. 

It is a further reflection of the powerless presence of our local and national representatives.

Gerard Tobin,



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