Calls for renewed focus on rural development

Saturday 26 October 2013 22.30
GAA pundit Pat Spillane chaired commission tasked with examining ways to tackle effects of downturn in rural areas
GAA pundit Pat Spillane chaired commission tasked with examining ways to tackle effects of downturn in rural areas

Senior civil servants are considering whether a Government Department and Minister of State should be delegated responsibility for Rural Development, RTÉ has learned.

An unpublished report - seen by RTE - that will guide Government policy on rural Ireland up to 2025 has found that rural areas have had twice the business failure rate as urban areas in the economic downturn.

Chaired by GAA pundit Pat Spillane, the Commission on the Economic Development of Rural Ireland, or CEDRA, was set up in September 2012 by Ministers Phil Hogan and Simon Coveney.

Using feedback from public meetings across the country, CEDRA has sent recommendations on how to maximise economic potential to Government.

As well as an increased business failure rate in rural areas, the report has found that one-third of working aged households are jobless in rural areas.

CEDRA advocates rural town stimulus programmes and up-skilling thousands of rural dwellers.

It has been suggested in correspondence between senior civil servants that a Government Department and Minister of State should be delegated responsibility for Rural Development.

Other initiatives identified include re-energising rural tourism and having a minimum of 30 megabyte broadband available to every business and home by 2016.

The completed report is due to be published within the next few weeks.

Keywords: cedra