Rural Division, also known as Rural Development and Regional Affairs Division, is made up of five Units. The following three are based in Ballina:
- Rural Policy and Schemes Unit
- Leader Unit
- Leader Inspection Unit, which also has Regional Offices
The following two Units are based in Dublin:
- Rural Strategy Unit
- Regional Telecommunications Development Unit
The main goal of the Rural Division is to promote and facilitate long-term sustainable economic and social progress in rural parts of Ireland, working across Government departments with all taking the same approach.
The Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development is the key instrument in delivering the above objective. The Action Plan contains a series of measures to unlock the potential of rural communities and enterprises, though a framework of supports at national, regional and local level.
The Division is responsible for developing policy on social enterprise, playing an important role in regional development, in particular through facilitating the development of the Atlantic Economic Corridor and having oversight of the Western Development Commission. It is also supporting the rollout of high-speed broadband and telecommunications infrastructure across rural Ireland.
Other areas of the Division’s activities include the implementation of the LEADER Programme 2014-2020, delivery of a range of outdoor recreation schemes, minor infrastructural works in rural areas, town and village renewal, and the coordination of the Tidy Towns competition.