Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
112. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the establishment of a forum for ongoing dialogue between local authorities, relevant policy Departments and island communities pursuant to Our Rural Future – Rural Development Policy 2021 – 2025; when she expects the forum to be up and running; the regularity with which the forum will hold meetings; the membership of the forum; the terms of reference of the forum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38319/21]
Our Rural Future represents the Irish Government’s blueprint for the development of rural Ireland over the next five years. It provides the framework to achieve the vision of transforming the quality of life and opportunity for people living in rural areas. As the Deputy is aware, Our Rural Future contains a number of policy measures relating to the islands including the establishment of a forum.
My Department is currently developing a National Islands Policy for the inhabited offshore islands. Overall, the vision is this policy will lead to the agreement of a number of objectives across all policy areas to support, promote and empower our island communities. Implementation of the policy will improve the quality of life of island communities by fully taking into account the unique context of the islands.
As part of this process my Department has held bilateral meetings with the relevant Local Authorities regarding the policy’s development and the establishment of a forum has been discussed in this context.
Although the drafting of the National Islands Policy is still at an early stage, the establishment of a forum for ongoing dialogue between local authorities, relevant policy Departments and island communities will be the subject of further dialogue as the policy development process continues.