Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Rural Transport Services
56. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the engagement she has had with other Departments regarding issues relating to rural Ireland and specifically regarding public transport in rural areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43918/20]
The new Rural Development Policy, which is currently being finalised by my Department, will the Government’s blueprint for rural Ireland over the next five years. It will seek to address issues affecting rural areas through the implementation of measures designed to build and strengthen rural communities and rural economies. The new policy will reflect a strategic, whole-of-government approach and will complement other relevant Government initiatives.
As part of the development of the policy an extensive consultation process has been undertaken which helped to identify the issues that matter most to people living and working in rural Ireland. A wide range of stakeholders, including Government Departments and State agencies, were involved in these consultations. My Department also consulted with Departments on the rural policy through a Senior Officials Group chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach.
The provision of reliable, integrated public transport services was identified as of key importance by many people who participated in the consultation process at workshops throughout the country in 2019. I anticipate that this will be reflected in the new rural policy and that the commitments in the Programme for Government around improved rural transport will be reinforced in the policy when it is published in the New Year.