Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
126. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the development of the rural proofing model promised as part of the Our Rural Future – Rural Development Policy 2021 – 2025; the timeline for the roll-out of the model; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38318/21]
Our Rural Future is the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in Ireland for decades.
The policy contains 152 measures for delivery, developed across the whole of Government, with the underlying theme of economic, environmental and societal sustainability. The policy has a vision of vibrant and thriving rural towns and villages, with a key objective to maximise opportunities for individuals, communities and businesses in rural areas. It recognises that rural areas play an integral role in the economic, social and cultural recovery and well-being of the country.
The policy commits to developing an effective rural proofing model. This will ensure that all departments fully consider the effects of new proposals on rural communities, the needs for potential adjustments to better target the challenges and opportunities facing rural areas, and the identification of any impacts that may arise in this regard.
As outlined in the 2021 Our Rural Future Work Programme, available on my Department’s website, the rural proofing model process will begin later this year with a scoping exercise, including an assessment of international best practice in this area. As part of this process my Department will engage with international stakeholders, such as the OECD, to assess and learn from other countries’ experiences. My officials will also engage with colleagues across Government and with the Higher Education Network that is being established this year under another commitment in Our Rural Future.
We must ensure that any rural proofing process adopted by Government is effective, efficient and implementable. It is also of note that this model is not intended to replace the formal structures for the monitoring of policy implementation as overseen by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment, chaired by An Taoiseach.