There can no longer be postcode lottery for rural communities, says Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly rural

There can no longer be a postcode lottery of services disproportionately affecting rural communities, Alliance West Tyrone Assembly candidate Stephen Donnelly has said.

Councillor Donnelly said for too long, rural areas had suffered due to be “disconnected” physically and in other ways from services. It comes as Alliance outlined priorities around rural communities in its manifesto.

They include ensuring superfast broadband and mobile phone signal for rural communities, government policy to include rural impact analysis, accountable rural policing and rebalancing tourism in rural areas, among others.

“Rural communities often have poor access to services which everyone else in Northern Ireland takes for granted,” said Councillor Donnelly.

“That can include things such as poor phone signal or internet access, which are ever more important in the modern world of hybrid working, but also poor connectivity of roads, sporadic public transport and a postcode lottery particularly when it comes to access to health services, which then disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our society.

“We need to put in place structures to support our rural communities, while rebalancing tourism to open up employment opportunities and creating access to essential services and strengthening connectivity of homes. It is no longer acceptable to have a better quality of life and have things be more accessible purely if you happen to live in an urban area as opposed to rural.”