Welcome for O’Neill’s £16m rural poverty package

Cloughmills councillor Cathal McLaughlin has welcomed Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill’s initiative to deal with rural poverty.

The Sinn Féin councillor said: “This £16million ‘Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework’ initiative is a welcome boost for rural communities. The framework and associated action plan will help support a range of rural programmes aimed at improving access to transport and maximising access to grants, benefits and services.”

Cllr McLaughlin pointed out that the proposed scheme will assist the rural support charity, rural community development, Fuel Poverty, Health Checks, Rural Youth Employability and Rural Young Entrepreneurs programmes along with Services for Older People and Borewell Requisition projects and a small grants programme.

Mr McLaughlin said:

“At a time when many rural communities are suffering from increased emigration, falling incomes and cuts to services as a direct result of the effects of the economic downturn this is a good news story. Yet again we have a Sinn Fein Minister bringing forward policies aimed at improving the lives of ordinary people and communities. These are vital initiatives at a time when British Tory cuts are causing real hardship across all communities.”