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Mayo Green Party/Comhaontas Glas Maigh Eo

Secretary: Ed Hopkinson,
Monday 21st July 2003

  Green Party Leader Says Government Is Gambling with Mayo Jobs

?and Losing

Trevor Sargent T.D. focuses on jobs, agriculture and tourism during visit to Mayo

  Green Party/Comhaontas Glas Leader, Trevor Sargent T.D., called on the government to give more support to indigenous industry so that job losses caused by global downturns, such as the loss of 170 jobs at the Volex factory in Castlebar, could be avoided.   

He was critical of the government’s recent decision to decrease funding for Enterprise Ireland, the state agency with responsibility for developing indigenous industry, while at the same time increasing funding for the IDA, which has responsibility for bringing in overseas business. 

“The Government is putting all its eggs in the inward investment basket,?he said, referring to ongoing coalition policy to focus on attracting overseas companies to Ireland.  “However, in doing so, it is gambling with Irish jobs, including Mayo jobs, and it is losing.?nbsp;

“The Green Party supports community development and community enterprise first.  While inward investment can be a part of that, it should not be the mainstay of economic policy.   We are calling on the government to give more support to indigenous industry as a vital safety net for when the hard times hit.?o:p>

 He also spoke about the importance of ensuring an adequate livelihood for small farmers in the West of Ireland and of the need for incentives and targets to encourage more farmers to move to organic farming.   He said that research (Western Development Commission) had already shown that farmers in the West were in an ideal situation to reap most benefit from taking the organic route.

 “The Greens want to keep as many rural families on the land as possible.  In order to do that, farmers have to be able to earn a decent living,? he said.  “That used to be a major national aim of all political parties but it doesn’t seem to be as important to them today.?

 He conceded, however, that the force for change in agricultural and food policies was bigger than any political party.

 “In terms of food, the power to influence agriculture is with the consumer,?he said.  “They are increasingly concerned with the quality of their food and they also want food that they can consume in good conscience.?o:p>

 The Green Party Leader also spoke strongly about the need for more eco and cultural tourism across the country, and particularly in spectacular counties such as Mayo.  As a keen Irish speaker, he said he had a personal interest in the development of environmentally friendly tourism in areas such as North Mayo, which is a designated Gaelteacht region.

Trevor Sargent T.D.,  who was elected the first Green Party Leader at a special Leadership Convention  in October 2001, has been a member of the Green Party since 1982 and a T.D. for over ten years now.   He was re-elected to Dáil Eireann for the third consecutive time in the 2002 General Election,  topping the poll in his North Dublin constituency and presiding over the party’s most successful election to date,  taking six seats. 

 The Mayo Green Party has enjoyed an increase in membership since that election and will contest candidates in the 2004 local elections.  It meets every first Monday of the month.  For further information about the Green Party nationally or locally, contact secretary@mayogreens.org




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