Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government today (26th September, 2012) announced the establishment of a Commission to carry out an extensive public consultation on the future economic potential of rural Ireland and how best to channel funding and resources between 2013 and 2025.
Announcing the Commission Minister Hogan said: “The Rural Commission will start its work this month and will visit Communities throughout rural Ireland over the next 8 months in order to gather information from the people on the ground on what initiatives should be carried out to stimulate economic growth and create jobs in their areas. The people who already live and work in these communities are best placed to provide the information required to assist policy makers to develop long-term solutions to the developmental requirements of their communities.”
“The commission will travel the length and breadth of the country and ask the people of rural Ireland the questions that need to be asked and, more importantly, will listen to their answers, with a view to using the information provided to support rural communities into the future”.
The commission will examine the non farming or ‘outside the farm gate’ aspects of economic development in rural areas and will prepare a report by the end of 2013 that will inform the development of future strategies to support the medium term economic development of Rural Areas for the period to 2025.
Underlining the important and useful role of the Commission, Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said, ‘rural Ireland can contribute significantly to our economic recovery, through the growth of our Agri-food industry and also through the development of other rural based enterprises. I believe that the Commission can contribute in a significant and useful way to both identifying and harnessing the specific potential in our rural communities for economic and social development.’
A number of commitments relating to economic development contained in the Programme for Government, in particular, commitments to encourage job creation and sustainable enterprise development, are reliant on the ability of all parts of Ireland to contribute to economic growth going forward. It is also apparent that both the differential degree of economic development and the variable impacts of the economic downturn between urban and rural areas need to be examined in detail in order that appropriate measures are identified to inform the development of strategies that support rural Ireland into the future. The proposed commission will conduct an extensive research exercise that will examine in detail the current status of the rural economy. As part of its work it will conduct a comprehensive public consultation exercise and examine all other relevant information in order to reach its conclusions.
The Minister added “This valuable research exercise will not only facilitate the collection and analysis of the best information available to support the sustainable development of rural Ireland going forward it will also mark the 25th Anniversary of the EU strategy for the development of rural areas in “the Future of Rural Society”, as part of the forthcoming Irish Presidency of the European Union in 2013
Structure and Membership of the Commission
The Commission will be led by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with support from Teagasc and the Western Development Commission.
Membership of the Commission will be drawn from relevant Government Departments and state bodies and will also draw on expertise from a range of sectors including;
Third level Education
Small and Medium Enterprises
Timeline for the Commission
The Commission will be established in September 2012 and it is envisaged that it will complete its work, with the publication of its final report in October 2013