Former Kerry GAA star Pat Spillane has been named as the Chairman of the new Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA).

The Commission will examine the non-farming, “outside the farm gate” aspects of economic development in rural areas, according to the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.

Mr Spillane said the Commission would begin hosting 17 public meetings across the country, starting in January, as well as individual meetings with relevant stakeholders.

He said it would issue a report in October next year, on the economic potential of rural Ireland and how best to channel funding and resources between 2013 and 2025.

"Too much of the policy in Ireland is created at central Government level and it doesn't take into account, for example, rural communities in Ireland where the issues and the concerns are different," Mr Spillane said.

The chairman said the new Commission is not a quango and not a talking shop. He said the Commission would consult with people in rural communities and develop strategies to stimulate growth and create jobs.