Donegal’s population loss has far reaching implications, Deputy Pringle has said.
Responding to Census population figures released today, Deputy Pringle said: “We always knew emigration was going to be high in the area, but having the highest population loss in the country could have serious implications for Donegal.
“The political implication for Donegal is the less likelihood of the county being reunited for electoral purposes. Legislation passed in 2012 meant the south of the county was moved into the Sligo/Leitrim constituency based on population and the drop in the county population means this decision cannot be reversed any time soon. New boundaries based on population figures wont’ be drawn up if new legislation is not passed and this will impact on all constituencies, not just for Donegal.”
Continuing, Deputy Pringle said the social consequence must also be dealt with as many of the people who left were young people forced to leave in search of work.
“This has been devastating for Donegal communities, particularly in more rural areas. Coupled with an ageing population, youth emigration will devastate communities even further unless the Government acts now.”
“Government policy needs to specifically target the development needs of Donegal to overcome the geographical barriers and years of under-investment that have led to high rates of emigration. That means investment in our schools, infrastructure and in targeted jobs policies which create sustainable, local jobs in our communities. We’re not seeing this at the moment.
“Just recently the ESRI found that younger adults in Ireland are facing particular stresses at the moment due to the difficulties in moving into employment coupled with housing concerns. Our policies for rural areas need to reflect the needs of the whole spectrum of our population including young people.”
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