A new Pobal report has described Granard as a disadvantaged area
One of County Longford’s largest urban centres has been blacklisted as one of the region’s most disadvantaged areas with unemployment rates more than three times the national average.
The ‘Deprivation Index’, a chronology of 2016 Census data compiled by Pobal, named Granard as a disadvantaged area.
In the small town category with populations between 1,000 and 5,000, it found male unemployment stood at 30 per cent, four percentage points ahead of the 26 per cent of females that were classified as being out of work.
Details of the findings have come in for much criticism locally, some of whom called into question the speed at which rural towns were benefiting from Ireland’s much talked about economic recovery.
“This latest report from Pobal clearly shows that there is a two tier approach to recovery- Dublin had fared best over the past decade,” said Roscommon/Galway Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy.
“The most affluent areas of the country are distributed in rings around the main population centres, mainly demarcating the urban commuter belts.
“The counties coinciding with the most distant urban commuter belts – including Roscommon,– experienced some of the most significant decline.”
The former radio presenter added the report was yet further illustration of the need to upgrade the N4 and N5 carriageways in order to improve the infrastructure and access to main urban centres.
There were just as audible warning soundings from Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy.
And in a direct attack on the main government parties, the North West MEP said the Pobal findings made a mockery of the Coalition’s “supposed” commitment to rural areas.
“Pobal’s Deprivation Index is a wake up call on the economic crisis facing rural Ireland,” he said.
“Rural towns with populations of under 5,000 are suffering severe neglect and are not seeing any evidence of economic recovery.
“The economic policies of both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, based as they are on facilitating massive tax avoidance strategies have been further exposed with the publication of this report.”