Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
66. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the islands’ action plan and her engagement with island communities in relation to the plan since taking office. [43576/20]
Prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic my officials had been engaged in a process of consultation with island communities in relation to the development of a new Islands Policy. This consultation was carried out through public meetings on the islands.
The consultation process had to be temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and to avoid health risks for the island communities.
More recently, my officials have been liaising with the representatives of the island communities who had not had the opportunity to contribute directly to the consultation process, to enable them to make an input on behalf of their communities. In the current circumstances, this engagement is being done remotely.
These on-line engagements have commenced and three meetings have been held. My Department hope to consult the remaining islands and other stakeholders through the same mechanism.
In the New Year, mMy Department will also reconvene the Inter-Departmental Committee charged with overseeing the development of the policy, to reflect on the key issues which have emerged from the consultation process. Work will also commence on the drafting of the new policy, which will be supported by an Action Plan to implement the policy.