The Government has today published Our Rural Future, the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in decades.
The policy reflects the unprecedented change in living and working patterns during COVID-19 and the significant opportunities this presents for rural communities – from remote working and revitalising our town centres to job creation, developing a green economy and enhancing our outdoor amenities.
The five year strategy was launched in Croke Park by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, and Minister for Transport and the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.
Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the WDC welcomed the details of the strategy:
“This is a very significant day for rural and regional areas. The strategy builds on the establishment of the dedicated Department for Community and Rural Development, and aligns all of Government and agencies on an agreed policy. This places the commitment to Our Rural Future on a par with Ireland 2040, Future Jobs Ireland and the Climate Action Plan.
There is clear alignment with the WDC, in promoting the Western Region and the Atlantic Economic Corridor as a place to live and work, that remote work is no longer a barrier to career progression in either the public or private sector and that connected hubs play a key role in economic and social development. The transition to remote working and the digital economy will help to build resilience in rural and regional areas which is a key area of focus for the WDC particularly in the context of the transition to a low carbon economy, Covid 19 and Brexit.’
The focus on the role of towns and villages is to be welcomed. We look forward to working with the DRCD and other agencies to again use the Western Region and the Atlantic Economic Corridor to be at the forefront of innovation, building on the success of the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) Hubs Network. This has shown the strength of collaboration, the capacity of hubs as rural and regional drivers of economic activity and innovation and as a location to build a global career in Ireland Western Region.”
This is a very significant day for rural and regional areas. The strategy builds on the establishment of the dedicated Department for Community and Rural Development, and aligns all of Government and agencies on an agreed policy. This places the commitment to Our Rural Future on a par with Ireland 2040, Future Jobs Ireland and the Climate Action Plan.
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys said:
“Our Rural Future represents a new milestone in the approach to rural development for Ireland.
“As we recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to reimagine rural Ireland and harness the talent, skills and creativity running through our rural communities.
“For decades we have seen global trends where young people leave their local communities to live and work in larger cities. As we emerge from COVID-19 we will never have a better opportunity to reverse that long-standing trend.
“The move to remote working, underpinned by the rollout of the National Broadband Plan, has the potential to transform Rural Ireland like never before.
“It will allow people to work from their own local communities, revitalise our town centres, reduce commuting times, lower transport emissions and most importantly – improve the quality of life of our people.”
Our Rural Future, Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 is available HERE