Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Limerick - One story but indicative of whats happening across Rural Ireland.

Just read this on Breakingnews and for me, just like the Seamus Sherlock story, it sums up how rural Ireland is going to be doubly battered - by the recession and the Govt. response.  

"A Limerick man has had to close his family business of 121 years and emigrate to Australia because of the recession and is adamant that he will never return to Ireland.

Forty-seven-year-old Declan Murphy has said he was forced to close Murphy and Son Menswear in Newcastle West - a business which first opened its doors in 1889.

1889 is one year before Michael Collins was even born. Minister of Finance Brian Lenihan is a student of history. He should appreciate that while that business survived land wars, world wars, guerilla war and civil war it didnt survive his administration.

Father of three Declan Murphy said he can no longer support his family with the business and has made the difficult decision to emigrate."
Both Rural and Urban Ireland are going to get it in the neck. I am not saying its better in one place or the other. Rural and Urban Ireland will be affected in similar and also different ways. A town smaller than Newcastle West may not have the critical mass required to even launch new shops and establish alternative providers, that large population centers will have. Larger population centers may well have the critical mass but they too will face unique problems and hardships associated with an urban context.

NewcastleWest town has a population of about 11000. In the Social Welfare office in the town there are 3,739 people now registered - people from the town and its wider economic hinterland. This is replicated across rural Ireland - urban centers being stripped of amenities and services while their hinterlands enter into a particularly severe economic decline.

Its sad to think that soon in rural Ireland there will be many towns with no post office, no bank, no clothes shops, no jobs and no amenities, even no Gaelic football teams, no hospitals nearby. The sheer breadth of the assault being carried out on rural Ireland is awe inspiring. The last budget also targetted rural Ireland harshly.

During the Tan War the enemy army tried to destroy rural areas of resistance by burning towns and destroying centres of economic activity - to break the backbone of small communities. They didnt succeed but Fianna Fail might just - they have a lot done and more to do.

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