“Jobs the key to reversing population decline”
Michael Ring T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, today (23 February 2018) chaired a meeting of the Monitoring Committee for the Action Plan for Rural Development in Killaloe, Co. Clare, which placed a special focus on the theme of developing and sustaining jobs in rural Ireland.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Ring said:
“If we are to reverse population decline in rural Ireland, and if we are to attract people to come and live in rural areas, we need to provide more job opportunities for them. The Government has set an objective of supporting the creation of 135,000 new jobs outside of Dublin by 2020 and good progress is being made in this regard. The latest labour market figures published by the CSO show that almost 90% of jobs (42,800) created in Quarter 3 2017 were outside of Dublin. I held a special meeting under the Action Plan for Rural Development here in Killaloe to explore how we can accelerate jobs growth in rural areas.”
The Minister invited a number of rural-based entrepreneurs who are at different stages in their companies’ business cycle to join the meeting and contribute to the discussion.
The Minister said: “It was both inspiring and encouraging to hear about the work of people such as Dr. Edmond Harty of Dairymaster in growing a high-end manufacturing business from Co. Kerry and contributing significantly to local employment.
“I was also struck by the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of two other entrepreneurs, Declan Murphy Clubify in Co. Clare, who has developed a communications platform for sports clubs, and Jason Morrissey, who owns and operates bike rentals in Kilkenny and Waterford.
This kind of entrepreneurial approach and business acumen is what will drive the rural economy in the future. There are many opportunities opening up for rural economies to diversify into new products and services and reach new markets. The Government has a range of supports available through the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta to help entrepreneurs.”
The Minister added: “This Government’s ambition for rural Ireland is clear for all to see. The foundations of our rural development policy, such as the Action Plan for Rural Development, combined with the new €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund under the National Development Plan, will equip rural communities with the means to thrive and prosper.”
Note for Editors
Action Plan for Rural Development
Realising our Rural Potential, the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development was launched in January 2017. The Action Plan contains 277 actions for the delivery across Government, State agencies and other bodies over the next three years to support the economic and social progress of rural Ireland.
The actions in the Action Plan are broken down across 5 thematic Pillars as follows:
Pillar 1: Supporting Sustainable Communities
Pillar 2: Supporting Enterprise and Employment
Pillar 3: Maximising our Rural Tourism and Recreation Potential
Pillar 4: Fostering Culture and Creativity in Rural Communities
Pillar 5: Improving Rural Infrastructure and Connectivity
Each action has been assigned to a lead body which will be responsible for implementation of the action within a definite timescale. Progress Reports on the implementation of the Action Plan are published twice-yearly. The second Progress Report will be published in full in the coming weeks.
Rural Regeneration and Development Fund
A new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will be established under the Department of Rural and Community Development, to invest an additional €1 billion in supporting rural renewal. This is on top of the current level of funding for schemes under the remit of the Department of Rural and Community Development, such as LEADER, Town and Village Renewal, Rural Recreation Scheme, LIS, etc. These existing schemes have an allocation of €88 million for 2018. It is envisaged that allocations from the Fund will be made on a competitive basis, based on quantifiable and measurable progress towards NPF objectives.
The objective of the new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will be to drive collaborative, co-ordinated and complementary packages of investment between Departments, agencies, local authorities and other public bodies in pooling their assets and working with local communities, and the private sector where appropriate, to transform our rural towns and villages and outlying rural areas.
Further details of this Fund will be announced in due course.