Written answers

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Department of Rural and Community Development

Action Plan for Rural Development Implementation

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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40. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the timeline for the completion of the new action plan for rural development; and if he made a request seeking the transfer of further responsibilities for rural development to his Department. [43785/19]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government's Action Plan for Rural Development was published in January 2017 as a three-year plan to support the economic and social development of rural Ireland.  The Action Plan runs to the end of 2019, and my Department is currently developing the next phase of rural policy, from 2020 onwards. 

The new policy will build on the Action Plan for Rural Development. It will be forward-looking, and will seek to strengthen and build resilience in our rural economies and communities. 

The process of developing the policy has involved a wide range of consultation events with key stakeholders, including Government Departments, State agencies, rural stakeholder groups, young people, and the wider public.

The public was also invited to contribute to informing the next phase of rural policy through an online survey which allowed respondents to prioritise what they consider to be the main challenges and opportunities in relation to rural Ireland. There has been a very significant response to the online survey, with 1,733 responses.  These inputs received are now being considered by my Department.

As is the case with the current Action Plan, the new policy will reflect a whole-of-Government commitment to rural Ireland.  In that context an Inter-Departmental Working Group has been established to support the development of the policy and to ensure synergies with key policies across Government. The Group will continue to meet over the coming months until the new policy has been fully developed.

Since my Department was established in July 2017, we have delivered a wide range of programmes and policies to support both rural and community development. I am always open to the possibility of considering additional responsibilities that are consistent with my Department's mission of supporting vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland.


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