In 2017, the Government launched the Action Plan for Rural Development to support the economic and social development of rural Ireland. The Second Progress Report under this Plan was published in April 2018 and, while progress has been made in many areas, a number of key initiatives fall under the heading ‘Delayed Actions’ (DRCD, 2018:20).
(All four Progress Reports may be accessed on the Dept. website at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/b13c5f-progress-reports-action-plan-for-rural-development/)
These sixteen delayed actions cover areas such as housing, childcare, environmental protection, public transport and the digital landscape. Areas which speak to the very heart of development and sustainability in non-urban areas. Rural Ireland experiences greater levels of youth migration and has an older population than urban centres. In the absence of decent infrastructure and services, this is set to continue.
DRCD has launched an online Public Consultation on Rural Policy, open until the 11th October 2019. This presents an opportunity for groups and individuals to have their say on the challenges and benefits of rural life.
The new policy will have a 5-year timeframe, and will focus on “strengthening our rural communities and economies.”
It will take account of:
- Emerging economic, societal and international developments, including changing demographics within communities,
- The increasing focus on climate change adaptation, diversification in the agri-food sector,
- the next version of rural funding schemes (for example, CAP and LEADER ) ,
- New ways of working and the changing nature of jobs,
- and Brexit.
Public Consultation Workshops
The Department is also holding two public consultation events to inform the next phase of rural development policy for Ireland. These workshops seek to obtain the views of people on the challenges and opportunities facing them and their communities over the next five years, and actions required to help Ireland realise its full potential.
These events will take place on
- Mon 30 September at the Hibernian Hotel in Mallow, Co Cork and
- Tues 01 October at The Heritage in Killenard, Co Laois.
Anyone interested in attending can register via Eventbrite here .
Social Justice Ireland Publications
Some of Social Justice Ireland’s recent publications in this area are detailed below. These both set out the context and propose realistic policy recommendations to support rural communities:
Irish Rural Link (IRL)
IRL will also be making a written submission to this new policy document because of its importance.
You to send your views to inform this submission to them at email@example.com