Bunacurry National School on Achill Island closed as the academic year concluded last week. It was due to the falling pupil numbers, with only three students in the school located in the middle of the island, in its final year.

It’s the third national school to close on Achill in the past five years, following Currane in 2015 and Dooniver in 2019.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Paul McNamara says the population decline on Achill Island, and rural areas of the county generally, will continue unless there is government intervention to make rural Ireland more attractive for people to live and work in.

At the monthly meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District he accused successive governments over decades of neglecting Achill Island.

He cited the visit of his party leader, Micheál Martin to the county last week, saying the Taoiseach never visited the island, similarly the former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar never officially made a visit.

Councillor McNamara says the inadequate broadband infrastructure on Achill means it failed to attract people working remotely during the pandemic.

He says employment on the island is declining and while there is a heavy dependence on tourism, with just an eight week summer tourist season, it’s not enough to sustain families and businesses.

Cllr McNamara spoke to Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about the consequences of decades of neglect by governments of the island culminating in another school closure…

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