Published 7 September 2017
Clare County Council’s Rural Strategy contains practical solutions to rural challenges
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has said that Clare County Council’s Rural Strategy shows that by being strategic and positive we can provide practical solutions to the challenges facing rural Ireland.
Minister Ring was speaking as he officially launched the Clare Rural Development Strategy 2026 at a ceremony in Kilmaley, County Clare today. Clare has become the first county to launch a rural development strategy following the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. The 10-year blueprint targets the creation of 4,000 jobs over the lifetime of the plan, with a particular focus on the development of community-led social enterprises.
Minister Ring said: “Rural Ireland is changing and it’s really encouraging to see that Clare County Council is responding to these changes with a rural strategy which addresses rural challenges in a creative and practical way. With its focus on rural job creation, improved transport linkages and access to broadband and joint services, this strategy complements the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. It is my priority to ensure that Government Departments, local authorities and community networks follow the same strategic path in relation to rural development. Clare County Council’s Rural Strategy is an example of this approach in action.
“I’m really impressed by the overall strategy and in particular by some of the measures contained within it. These include the development by the Council of a “rural Uber” type app to facilitate car-pooling and community bus services. This will enable people in remote rural areas to get into their local towns and villages. It makes sense from a practical point of view and also has the benefit of encouraging social interaction within communities.
“Five local digital hubs are going to be rolled out in the next 18 months to enable people to work and carry out business using high speed broadband from their local town or village. So if you’re a farmer who wants to file your returns or a commuter who wants to work “from home” a couple of days a week, you can go to your local digital hub and take care of your business. These digital hubs are to be located in Kilrush, Feakle, Miltown Malbay, Ennis and Enistymon.
“The strategy also targets the development of community run Multi Service Centres which will provide a range of services such as GP care, postal services, social protection services, transport, advice and information from a single building.
“All of these measures are practical, common sense responses to challenges facing rural communities. As Minister for Rural and Community Development, my remit is to ensure that the State supports jobs, helps build communities and connects people. That’s what this strategy is all about, in fact it’s very much aligned with national Government policy on rural Ireland.
“This Government is building a Republic of Opportunity by ensuring that all parts of Ireland share prosperity and economic growth by delivering new roads, broadband, better third level institutions and more job opportunities. We still have a long way to go but working together towards the same strategic goals is the best way to meet the challenges facing rural Ireland.
“Clare County Council, in launching this rural strategy, is responding in a constructive way to the changes that are shaping rural Ireland. It’s good to see local authorities thinking and acting strategically and practically in relation to the challenges facing rural Ireland.”