‘Unfair criteria disadvantaging South Armagh’ – Councillor Byrne

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Friday, July 27th, 2018

Slieve Gullion SDLP Councillor Pete Byrne has said that unfair criteria and policy is becoming a running theme in disadvantaging South Armagh from key strategies, funding and economic opportunities.

Speaking to Newry Times, Byrne said, “Since my co-option to Newry Mourne and Down District Council in 2016, I have been struck by how criteria and policy consistently acts against South Armagh benefiting from Council strategies, government programmes and the potential for economic development.



“It has been just over a year since I secured a Multi-Use Games Area for the Slieve Gullion DEA, something which took some convincing as I believed the criteria in relation to population figures in radial distances created a tiered system where rural areas like South Armagh were ignored.

“Similarly, earlier this year I was surprised to see the proposed reclassification of Crossmaglen from a town to a village, another decision based on a population threshold and which completely ignored the wealth of services Crossmaglen has to offer the surrounding area,” he continued.

“Rural Proofing legislation was passed in the last assembly to protect rural communities like those in South Armagh from being disadvantaged when rolling out programmes and strategies. It feels like South Armagh is being left behind at every turn.



“Rural communities account for 4 out of 10 people in the North and rural proofing was supposed to demonstrate to this section of society that Government had considered the impact of its policy on them and their area.

“What we need to see is a more robust application of rural proofing legislation so that our Council can present representatives with strategies which protect rural communities in the way it is supposed to.

Councillor Byrne added, “I will continue to labour on this point to ensure South Armagh gets its fair share of opportunity and investment.”



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