Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Rural Development Plan
87. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the development of the new rural policy; when she expects the policy to be finalised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43330/20]
My Department is currently finalising a new rural development policy for the coming five years. The new policy will be forward-looking and ambitious and will build on the progress achieved through the Action plan for Rural Development which concluded in 2019.
The policy will seek to strengthen and build resilience in our rural economies and communities and will identify policy measures for delivery in order to achieve these objectives. As was the case with the Action Plan, the new policy will reflect a whole-of-Government commitment to rural Ireland.
The process of developing the policy has included a wide range of consultation events with key stakeholders, including Government Departments, State agencies, rural stakeholder groups, young people, and the wider public. The insights and views captured through this extensive consultation process helped to identify the issues that matter most to people living and working in rural Ireland.
In addition, my Department held a series of further discussions with key stakeholders, and a public webinar in September, to explore the short and longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural communities and economies and to identify actions required to assist rural areas to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The inputs from these consultations are being factored in to the drafting of the policy and I hope to be in a position to bring the final policy to Government for approval early in the new year, prior to its publication.