Community groups demand priority status for Donegal amid claims of neglect

by Jerome Hughes

DONEGAL was once again branded ‘the forgotten county’ during a public meeting held in Glenties this week, with accusations of neglect directed at both the Irish Government and EU authorities.

The event on Monday evening, addressing rural decline, drew a variety of community groups along with concerned citizens.


The meeting heard farmers are facing challenges due to directives like the ‘EU Nature Restoration Law,’ aiming to redesignate 20 per cent of land across the EU by 2030.

“There are one or two paragraphs in it that we’re very seriously concerned about at the minute.” Pheilim Molloy, of the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association, told Donegal News.

“The type of land farmed in Donegal may not be eligible for CAP payments in the future, and that’s a major source of income for farmers on that type of land at the moment.” Mr. Molloy said.

The issue of Donegal’s declining fishing industry was also discussed along with claims of government negligence and EU regulations.

Aodh O’Donnell, from the Irish Fish Producers Organisation, highlighted the disparity with Norway’s fishing industry: “We have a massive resource out there. We only catch 15 per cent of the catch in our own waters. Compare that to what they’re doing in Norway, for example.

They have the same population but export 22 times what we export from this island.”

The plea to invest more in young people across Donegal came from Ireland’s largest youth organisation, Foróige.


Representative Maura Gallagher said: “We recognise the need for all young people living in Donegal, and particularly in rural communities, to have access to a universal youth work service, alongside the targeted, specialised youth work services that already exist.

“We have a model that really works. We know it works.” Ms Gallagher added.

Campaigners at the Glenties meeting called on the government to increase funding for schools and hospitals in the region but Sinn Féin claims that won’t happen until the current administration is voted out of office.

Pearse Doherty, Donegal Sinn Féin TD, said: “The message we had here was ‘yes absolutely, Donegal is forgotten’. We can see it in all the statistics but I think there has to be a message of hope that this can be turned around.”

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