News archive 2008

Bishops of the West of Ireland express concern for the future of the Western Development Commission

PRESS RELEASE

8 October 2008

Bishops of the West of Ireland express concern for the future of the Western Development Commission

Bishops call on all public representatives from the West to support future of the Commission
The Catholic Bishops of the West of Ireland have today [8 October 2008] expressed their concern that the Western Development Commission may be subsumed into another State agency.  In a joint statement the Bishops said:

“The review and possible rationalisation of State agencies is understandable in the current economic climate.  However, such a review should also include the regional significance of each agency.  It would defy logic, and is contrary to public policy in its true sense, if the existence and functions of the Western Development Commission were to be undermined by such a review.

“The Western Bishops began the process which led to the establishment of the Western Development Commission.  It was founded on the basis of research into the regional reasons for the economic depression and depopulation in the West.  For the Commission now to face possible integration into a larger, State-wide agency, would be a retrograde step of incalculable economic and social proportions for the people and communities of the West of Ireland.  Its strategic regional contribution, through its Research and Investment Fund, is vital.

“We appeal to the Government not to thwart the successful work of the Western Development Commission by changing its status now.  The economic and social progress experienced over the last decade by the Western counties, including Donegal and Clare, is in no small part due to the role of the Commission.

“We call on all public representatives from the West, at local, national and European Parliament level, to support our request and seek a commitment from Government not to diminish the existence and independent operation of the Western Development Commission.

“With the economy now in recession and a banking crisis undermining the global financial markets, the community of the West of Ireland needs the Western Development Commission today more than ever.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors
The Catholic Bishops from the West of Ireland are: Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam; Bishop Christopher Jones, Bishop of Elphin; Bishop John Kirby, Bishop of Clonfert; Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe; Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala; Bishop Willie Walsh, Bishop of Killaloe; Bishop Martin Drennan, Bishop of Galway; and, Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry.

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