Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
47. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she is working with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to address the specific housing challenges being faced in rural areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27946/21]
Our Rural Future sets out a blueprint for the development of rural Ireland over the next five years. My Department has worked closely with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and indeed right across Government, to agree this coherent strategy. It is supported by 150 commitments which will address challenges facing rural communities, including challenges in the housing sector.
My Department is also represented on a wider cross- Government group which is preparing a Housing for All Policy
One of the key focus areas of Our Rural Future is the commitment to a Town Centre First approach. My Department and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage are jointly chairing an Inter-Departmental Group established to progress this. In particular, this group will explore actions required to make our towns more attractive places for people to live and the potential for targeted interventions to support town centre living.
The Inter-Departmental Group will specifically consider all of the suggested actions identified in the Report of the Town Centre Living Initiative published by my Department last year. This Report followed on from a pilot initiative led by my Department in 2019 to explore how to encourage increased residential occupancy in rural towns and villages.
The work of the Town Centre First Inter-Departmental Group is being supported by an Advisory Group which includes a wide range of stakeholders and is chaired by my colleague at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Minister of State, Mr. Peter Burke.
I expect recommendations to be presented to Government on this matter in the coming months.