I want to welcome you all wherever you are in the World to this website. Here you will be able to see a plan that is designed to help rejuvenate the complete West of Ireland in the Counties of Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Longford, parts of Westmeath and north Galway, and situated in the County of Mayo.
Ireland today has five medieval cities which were designed over 500 years ago, and which are not expandable in their city centers. The roads are narrow, and have become gridlocked with congested traffic. The solution that our planners have offered to date is sprawling housing estates in the cities suburbs, which were developer led constructions. Here there was no pre-planned infrastructure, or the provisions of amenities, and facilities for the inhabitants, rather the attitude was "how many houses can we build to the acre", "what is the maximum amount of money we can squeeze out of people".
There are complex difficulties involved in this operation, let me highlight a few, firstly we have too many people living on top of one another, rather than having something more spatial and private, secondly, we provide no amenities for our people, especially our young, like parks, playfields, and facilities like swimming pools, or indoor sports, and other facilities. The lack of road infrastructure to many of these housing estates are inadequate with access being very difficult, and people being put through hell trying to get to and from work. Finally, the financial burdens placed on people today: many find that they have to take out huge loans from banks and spend 20 or 30 years repaying 3 or four times the amount borrowed. The net effect is that the quality of life for many has diminished, to the extent that they are unhappy.
Ireland has the
fastest population growth rate in Europe at 15%
and rising. We are inviting back our immigrants,
and we are allowing up to 25% of our refugees to
stay, that is to say those who are genuine
refugees. In addition to this we have embarked on
a worldwide brain drain to attract the best for
our high-tech, high-end growing computer
business. The result of this influx of people is
that within 20 years our population will have
gone from 4 million now (3.8 million in 1996) to
6 million. We cannot cram all of these people
into the existing cities, and the present
infrastructure is inadequate to come with this
challenge of a population surge. Certainly there
is room for expansion in existing towns and
hinterlands, but much of the development that has
taken place to date in Ireland has been either in
Dublin or within 30 miles of it on any side.
The effect of this is that the West of Ireland is losing out substantially, in job opportunity, education, health care, political representation, with Mayo down from six representatives to five, and in other ways, through isolation, neglect and in many unseen ways also. The effect is that the population in the West is in decline. Most of our young people move to Dublin for work, or they have to go to college away from home, and they know that immigration is a must for many, still in the year 2000. I find this very hard to imagine, but the reality is that up to 20,000 of our young people have to leave the West of Ireland every year, many to the U.S. or Canada, some to the U.K. and right across the World. Many too commute to the East of Ireland just to find work.
In order to address this imbalance in our Country, I am proposing a "New City for the West" that will provide for opportunities for all the people of the West and for the first time ever in Irish history, allow the young here to stay at home, and flourish. The West needs a good future, it needs a share of the National Wealth, it needs proper, and strong political representation, and it needs a massive project like the New City to redress the long perpetrated imbalance from anti-western political policy down through the years.
I hope you like the enclosed plans, and that you the reader will become involved in every which way to help make this worthy project happen. I appeal for your help, if you are an architect, designer, lawyer, doctor, financial consultant, computer expert, or what ever you think you could contribute please do, your help will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged in one of the streets which will be called the "Avenue of Friends". Here your names will be written in gold as a gesture of appreciation, and you will be invited to the formal opening of the New City when it is built.
Again I thank you, I hope that you like the plans, and that you will get in touch with us.
With every best wish, to you, I am Yours very sincerely William A. Thomas President. New City for the West.