Rural Services

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General Election
Rural Services

What’s needed?

Broadband roll out

Government must deliver on the commitment to provide a high speed, fibre broadband network across rural Ireland to support homes and businesses, job creation, investment and rural development.

  • Rapid roll-out of the rural broadband scheme to ensure that every home, school and business in rural Ireland has access to high-speed fibre broadband;
  • Delivery of a minimum broadband speed of 30Mpbs to all premises by 2020 in line with commitments under the scheme;
  • Delivery of universal service obligations and charges to maintain and develop the fixed line infrastructure for all rural customers.

No Post Office closures

  • Development of new services through the Post Office network and no further closures of rural Post Offices which are essential to the fabric of rural communities.

No additional water charges

  • No additional costs to farm enterprises arising from changes in the charging regime for nondomestic water.

Rural Roads funding

  • An increased and ring-fenced annual rural roads budget as part of a planned repair and maintenance programme.
  • The reinstatement of a fully funded Local Improvement Scheme by the Department of Transport and local authorities to support the maintenance and repair of non-local authority roads.

Development Charges

  • Removal of any obligations on farmers to pay development charges, where building is taking place to comply with new or existing legislation.

Rural Planning

  • A review of Building Regulations to reduce unnecessary compliance costs for farm families who wish to live and work in their local communities.

Tackling litter

  • Repeal of current legislation which penalises farmers on whose lands litter is being dumped;
  • Increased fines and greater enforcement by local authorities to tackle the scourge of littering by passing motorists and users of the countryside.

Electricity Infrastructure

Utilities including EirGrid and ESB must respect the rights of landowners, not pre-empt the planning process and must put forward all options, including undergrounding of powerlines before An Board Pleanála, for all projects including the proposed North-South 400kV interconnector.

Crime Prevention measures

  • Enforcement of the scrap metal legislation, enacted in 2014 following lobbying by IFA, which must be led by the Department of the Environment so that criminals who steal from rural dwellers are prosecuted by An Garda Síochána;
  • Increased inspection to ensure all scrap metal dealers keep proper records and seek proof of identity from suppliers;
  • Extension of the Seniors Alert scheme to cover the installation of house alarms;
  • Increased Garda policing hours and presence in rural areas to reduce crime and create a greater sense of security in the countryside;
  • Support for the establishment of IFA’s National Text Alert service in partnership with An Garda Síochána;
  • Support for the installation of CCTV in Local Villages at locations that would assist in crime prevention and detection.
  • Development of Electronic Tagging / Monitoring procedures to address the areas of detention, restriction and surveillance of repeat criminal offenders.

Greenways

  • Full consultation must take place with landowners before Greenways are developed in rural communities. All options must be explored during this consultation to limit negative impacts and secure community and individual farmer agreement on location.

Rates

  • Incentives for new business start-ups such as exemptions from rates for an initial time period to encourage innovation and enterprise in rural communities.

Dog Attacks campaign

  • Government through the Departments of Agriculture and the Environment to fund a comprehensive PR campaign including TV advertising on responsible dog ownership in order to prevent unnecessary and avoidable losses to farmers.
  • Support for dog wardens to improve policing of dog control and identification issues.

Action on flooding

  • Implementation of effective Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management plans which involve essential river maintenance for the
    protection of farm land and rural communities from the increased regularity of flooding events.
  • The establishment of a single body to deal with flood management and river maintenance
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