Action urged over rural funding

Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has called on Health Minister Edwin Poots to explore all possible funding avenues to tackle health inequalities in rural communities.

The East Antrim MLA said: “Poverty and isolation are real problems for people living in rural communities. Difficulties in accessing services and transport problems have created very worrying health inequalities.

“Recently my party colleague, Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill, made £80 million available for rural development projects.

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Mr. McMullan has written to a wide range of community organisations active in rural areas to make them aware of the additional money and he called on Health Minister Edwin Poots to engage with these groups in a similar way.

“I am calling on the Health Minister to put a specific focus on combating health inequalities in rural communities.

“Mr Poots recently said he was willing to identify new funding sources for the ‘Making Life Better 2013-23’. That should include European and all-Ireland funding streams.”

It should also involve partnership applications with community groups and sporting organisations.