Prior to the release of Budget 2024 next month, the NWRA (Northern and Western Regional Assembly) made the call in a submission to the Department of Finance.
The NWRA is one of three Regional Assemblies tasked with supporting the strategic development of regions. It represents Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Cavan, and Monaghan.
It claims that for Ireland's regions to develop in a balanced way and to stop growing regional inequality, a multimillion-euro stimulus package is required.
The NWRA is also urging the government to implement a policy of “positive discrimination” for the northern and western regions in its rollout of infrastructure projects in the National Development Plan (NDP) in order to address these issues over the long term.
The NWRA claims that such a policy would lead to a rebalancing of historical underinvestment in new infrastructure projects for the region and increased capital expenditure to bring more scaled-down infrastructure projects to the area.
The group is also urging the creation of a Citizens Assembly to investigate how higher levels of regional autonomy can be implemented, claiming that the system of centralised government is to blame for the high levels of regional inequality and rural disengagement.