Authors: Deputies Cathal Berry, Sean Canney, Peter Fitzpatrick, Noel Grealish, Michael Lowry, Verona Murphy, Denis Naughten and Matt Shanahan.

The Regional Group of Independent TDs launched its Pre-Budget Submission 2022 today highlighting the “critical need to invest in our people to support the transition back to normality”.

The Regional Group pointed out that the Government needs to put in place investment and appropriate policy responses and to do this people, health, well-being, public services, homes, infrastructure and a fair and widespread recovery must come first.

The Group also called for the National Planning Framework to be fully delivered to support regional investment. This would include the roll out of town growth funding strategies to support the revitalisation of town centres as well as addressing infrastructure deficits and tapping into the economic potential that remains unused in our regions and which, the Regional Group states, is essential to advance regional Ireland.

It is also seeking to prioritise the delivery of projects for capital investment in housing, innovation hubs, health, agriculture, water, education, defence, regional employment opportunities and sustainability.

Measures which are needed to support home-grown Irish businesses and SMEs from start-up to recovery and growth as the country emerges with a new sense of confidence and hope must also be prioritised. This includes the necessary supports that will ensure SMEs can attract investment so that they can survive, and ultimately thrive, in a post-pandemic world while increasing employment in regional Ireland.

The Regional Independent TDs’ pre-Budget submission is divided into 5 key areas to support Regional Ireland, along with practical measures:

  • Regenerate regional towns and villages – support the regeneration of towns and villages, housing, green villages, remote working and transport links.
  • Rural business – financing and supporting investment to support home-grown SMEs through recovery and renewal.
  • Taxation – complete review of tax credits and social welfare systems to ensure working is always financially better.
  • Local services – health and community initiatives,  investing in services in communities and repurposing existing infrastructure.
  • Agriculture – increased supports to farmers, intergenerational transfers and the agri-food sector.

The Regional Independent members stated that Government strategy needs to create a balanced approach together with an attractiveness for people to live and work in rural Ireland, essential for the quality of living in both urban and rural settings. This is particularly critical as the population is projected to grow at significant levels over the next 20 years. The Regional Group highlighted that its proposals seek to re-energise towns and villages while at the same time rebalancing concentrated population growth.

Budget 2022 must not only close the gaps which have emerged during the pandemic but also put in place support structures that will ensure every person throughout Ireland can grow and be supported in the recovery.

The implementation of the recommended 5 key regional supports will significantly enhance the overall national economic recovery effort. This can be achieved by improving industry and businesses, work/life balance and taking pressure off Dublin and larger cities across the country.

Read the full Prebudget submission here: REGIONAL INDEPENDENTS Prebudget submission 2022