Independent election candidate Charlie McClafferty has put forward a Economic Stimulus Package for Donegal.

The Independent candidate in the Letterkenny/Milford electoral area says Donegal is a special case which needs to be addressed even more than the rest of the country.

Charlie explained, “Yes, the entire country is suffering, but the sheer scale of Donegal’s disadvantage is being concealed by local Political Parties. Despite numerous findings (from the Live Register, Central Statistics Office, Teagasc, Farmers Journal, Fáilte Ireland etc), we hear nothing about our toxic mix of sectorial disadvantage. Some Parties seem nervous of informing the ‘little people’.”

“But tinkering at the edges will never solve the serious underlying issues in Donegal”, he said.

McClafferty explained, “Donegal is at the bottom of Key Economic League Tables. We have the worst rate of unemployment in the country at 26%.

“Donegal has the Worst Rate of Youth Unemployment. We have almost no Jobs for Qualified Students. We have the Second Highest Emigration Rate. We have the Lowest Farm Payment Entitlements in Ireland. Our Overseas Visitor spending is the Lowest on the West Coast.

How can businesses in Letterkenny survive, if the people of Donegal have the lowest disposable income across the country,” he asked.

McClafferty suggests that the justification for a Donegal Economic Stimulus Package is undeniable. He stresses the need to also include non Civil Servants, with expertise, in business, job creation, rural development and the tourism sector, to help shape an agreed County Plan.

Figures from the Department of Social Welfare will underpin his argument for lowering Donegal’s huge welfare bill and its burden on Irish Taxpayers.

His priority is for the Renewal of Donegal. Charlie said, “If elected, I will co-operate with all Donegal Councillors, to drive a county wide plan. We must adopt a united approach; it makes no sense for different towns to compete with one another, or for Urban Donegal to vie with Rural Donegal. Our isolated location makes us all very inter-dependent.”

Draft Donegal Economic Stimulus Package

In Total a €450-500 million Grant Aid Scheme, over 3 years, in addition to the agreed shared costs of the Aughnacloy-Strabane A5 road improvement.

1. Government Commitment to the Aughnacloy to Strabane A5 road Improvement Scheme.

2. A once off €200 million County Donegal Road improvement Scheme, divided between Electoral Areas. The roads package shall improve the Lifford to Letterkenny Road and other bottlenecks.

These investments will be in lieu of Railway Connectivity and will increase competitiveness of vital Donegal Job sectors.

3. Invest €80 million in the upgrading and extension of the Fibre Optic Cabling Network in County Donegal and/or the radio broadband coverage in rural areas

4. To maintain reinvigorate some of Donegal’s 8,014 farm units, we shall invest €50 million wisely in the Donegal’s farming sector, primarily to assist associated job creation in micro-farm businesses.

60% of the Farming Package shall be directed toward the shareholders in the 1,304 Commonages in Donegal.

i) Optional Grant aid for Commonage Co-Operatives that maximise their Shareholdings for tourism, recreational, community welfare or cultural initiatives.

ii) Grant aid for shareholders who expand into long term native woodland schemes; producing sustainable hardwood fuel, providing log cabin accommodation or other tourism activities

5. Stimulate job opportunities by expanding Donegal Tourism footfall. A €150 million euro Donegal tourism enhancement programme. €30 million per electoral area.

Overcome Donegal Tourism’s legacy of 30 years of armed Border checkpoints and offset the lack of job opportunities in other sectors.

Including;

i) Cycle ways

ii) Non Cycle Activity projects

iii) Cultural Tourism and Viewing facilities for Natural Attractions

iv) Micro-businesses

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