Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Aontú calls for ‘international city in Ireland beyond the M50’ | BreakingNews.ie

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Aontú wants an “international city” in another part of the country as Dublin is “overheating”, party leader Peadar Tóibín told delegates.

Mr Tóibín, who is the party’s only TD, said Ireland is becoming “a lop-sided city state”, and that a third of the country is living in “commuter hell”.

Mr Tóibín addressed his party Ard Fheis conference in Maynooth, Co Kildare, on Saturday evening.

He said that most “university-type jobs” are based in the Dublin area, meaning young people are forced to move away from home to get a job, but some cannot afford to live in the capital and have to commute “from 30, 40, 50 miles away”.

“This is fraying at the very fabric of families. Mothers and fathers are getting to see their children for maybe an hour in the evening to put them to bed,” he said on Saturday.

He said his party wants a “new international city built in another location in Ireland” to address the issue, which could come from an existing town or city being developed.

“We want to front load investment and infrastructure into that new city so that it grows to a critical mass and starts to draw down international investment in its own right,” Mr Tóibín said.

“We want to see it grow to a critical mass that it comes a counter-balance to Dublin in terms of spatial growth.”

Mr Tóibín also called for the development of “a border innovation zone” to pull in infrastructure investment and enterprise funding for border counties.

He said: “The root of this problem is, I believe that the Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Green government is increasingly a south Dublin government that cannot see beyond the M50.”

During his leader’s address, Mr Tóibín referenced the State’s planned Covid inquiry and the Government’s handling of nursing homes, as well as immigration and what he called a lack of information being a “petri dish for rumour”.

He said the island should be treated as “one unit in terms of migration policy” and criticised “a small number of extremists who are harvesting growing discontent” due to government strategies.

“This must be opposed. The colour of a person’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of their eyes,” he said.

Mr Tóibín, a former Sinn Féin TD for Meath West, left the party after he voted against legislation to liberalise abortion laws in the wake of the Eighth Amendment referendum.

He founded the Aontú party in 2019, which has four councillors on the island and is polling at around 4 per cent.

Mr Tóibín said that the party fought a “David and Goliath” battle on the two defeated referenda in March on amending Ireland’s constitutional wording on care and families.

While the Government and opposition parties advocated for Yes in both plebiscites, Aontú pushed for a No-No vote.

He claimed that since then, 400 new members have joined the party, which is “just shy” of 2,000 members.

Mr Tóibín is running in the European elections as a candidate in the Midlands North West constituency.

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