Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
110. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the level of engagement she has had with other Departments to progress other areas of priority as outlined in Our Rural Future which do not come under her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38462/21]
Our Rural Future, the Rural Development Policy for 2021-2025, is the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in Ireland for decades, focusing on sustainability and optimising opportunities for individuals, communities and businesses.
It is a whole-of-Government approach to rural development which contains more than 150 measures for delivery by a wide range of Departments over the lifetime of the policy.
My Department engaged in extensive consultation with colleagues across Government during the development of Our Rural Future, and ongoing engagement will be crucial to its successful implementation.
The 2021 Our Rural Future Work Programme was developed in conjunction with other Government Departments and contains actions which advance the delivery of more than 80 per cent of commitments in the Policy. Further annual Work Programmes will be developed to progress implementation over the lifetime of the Policy. I am happy to report that a number of the actions which fall under the remit of other Departments have already been substantially advanced, such as the approval of the Athlone IT /Limerick IT application for designation as a technical university and the publication of the draft new Agri-Food Strategy to 2030 as part of a public consultation process.
My Department will continue to engage bilaterally with Departments, Agencies and Local Authorities as required with regard to progressing measures which are relevant to their remit or where responsibility for delivery is shared.
In addition to annual work programmes, Our Rural Future also commits to the publication of regular Progress Reports. My officials will also be seeking updates from Departments later this year in respect of the actions to be delivered in 2021 for inclusion in the first Progress Report, and also to discuss measures for possible inclusion in the 2022 Work Programme.
Finally, in order to maximise the impact of Our Rural Future and to maintain dialogue with rural communities, my Department will be rolling out a range of stakeholder engagement events in 2021, and on an ongoing basis thereafter. These and other engagements will involve other departments and feed back into the consideration of future Work Programmes throughout the five-year lifespan of the Policy.