Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
129. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development when the rural youth assembly will be established; the way the assembly is expected to be structured; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38604/21]
My Department published Our Rural Future, a new five-year rural development policy, in March this year. It is the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in Ireland for decades.
The policy has a vision for vibrant towns and villages across rural Ireland, with economic, environmental and societal sustainability as an underlying theme, where communities, including young people, are empowered to take an active role in the decisions affecting their communities.
Our Rural Future was developed after an extensive consultation process which started in January 2019. This process included dedicated events for young people, in collaboration with youth organisations such as Foróige, which were tailored to the youth of rural Ireland and were dedicated to listening to the particular challenges they face.
Their feedback received from this process was extremely valuable and the workshops helped to identify a number of potential opportunities. As a result, the 152 policy measures in Our Rural Future include actions created specifically for the direct benefit of young people and to ensure their continued engagement, including the commitment to establish an annual Rural Youth Assembly.
We anticipate that the first Rural Youth Assembly will be held later this year. The format – whether a physical or virtual event – and the structure of the Assembly will be confirmed nearer the time following discussions with relevant stakeholders, including the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. It is intended that the outcomes of the first meeting of the Assembly will help inform future measures to be included in the implementation of Our Rural Future over the coming years.