Rural Communities Must be Supported to Achieve their Full Potential

Chambers Ireland has welcomed the Action Plan for Rural Development launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys.

The Action Plan is a strategy aimed at delivering real change for people living and working in rural Ireland. According to the Government, the objective of the Action Plan for Rural Development is to “unlock the potential of rural Ireland through a framework of supports at national and local level which will ensure that people who live in rural areas have increased opportunities for employment locally and access to public services and social networks that support a high quality of life.”

Commenting on the Action Plan, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive Chambers Ireland said: “The plan is an important indication of Government commitment to supporting rural communities and the rural economy across Ireland. We regularly hear from our Network of Chambers of Commerce of the vitality and determination of rural businesses, and of their ambition to remain at the heart of their communities. This Action Plan is a key component of a series of strategic initiatives such as the roll out of the National Broadband Plan and the development of a National Planning Framework that, when delivered, will allow rural businesses to grow and develop within their communities.”

He continued: “Our long-term strategy for rural Ireland must be to support our regions and rural communities in achieving their full potential in terms of economic development. Initiatives such as the Regional Action Plans for Jobs and the development of an Atlantic Economic Corridor have the potential to prove transformational for the economic development of the regions, but they will require a sustained focus from policy makers and significant capital investment over the coming years if they are to prove effective. Vibrant rural communities within strong regions will ensure the long-term sustainability of rural life in Ireland.”

Key actions under the Plan will include supporting the creation of 135,000 new jobs in rural Ireland by 2020 by assisting indigenous businesses, investing €50m for collaborative approaches to job creation in the regions and increasing Foreign Direct Investment in regional areas by up to 40 per cent.