Mayoman, there are of course many advantages for the East, and there have been quite alot of positive discriminations given to helping the West. But the way quite alot of towns remain depressed is a multi-faceted issue. I mean we’ve had what, 6 years of Inda as Taoiseach and yet the story remains the same, why is that?
Limerick is a city with alot of advantages and potential compared to many other places in the west, yet it remains not only depressed but also quite ugly as a city centre, how can that be explained away? For how many decades did wealthy diaspora come back from the USA etc and I’ve no doubt either offered or gave many different supports and investments for that area alone, yet the outcome has never seen it progress.
Yet Galway has. Ennis is a better town than Limerick, more attractive anyway. Waterford has made some progress, and Wexford has done quite well relatively. Dublin city has huge resources that should be available yet several aspects of O’Connell St and other parts of the NS especially remain a travesty. To me the answer is simple, always has been, Ireland is mostly terrible with public planning, disorganised, narrow-minded, corrupt, and short-sighted. And this is a huge factor in why many smaller and even bigger towns remain so depressed.
The rural area issue is a bit different, though related for market towns especially. It’s a mirror of what’s happening in many other similar countries to Ireland. The huge changes in agribusiness have brought that about to a large extent. The only thing that might reverse it is if there’s a wholesale worldwide change in the approach to use of the land. Two of my best mates are farmers/ex-farmers btw. And I know many people from a rural background. Some of them had great dreams of doing diverse, organic agriculture but could never get off the runway, or even to the airport, in a manner of speaking.
But Ireland does spectacularly well with tourism, despite our climate. The world over everybody wants to come here, and many many continental Europeans want to live here, if it was viable. Innovative and co-ordinated planning would do alot but the system/culture etc have to be in place for that to happen otherwise it will always be isolated pockets of individuals and particular towns and areas getting it together.
Of course the dramatic fall-off in visitors from the US since 2001 has been a major factor too. Our old supply lines are gradually declining I feel. Did we make the best of the peak? We have left ourselves very vulnerable to being dragged down by the US and Britain in their implosions, and this coming just after the EU backed the systemised ransacking of the country since the IMF deal.