· An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD (14 April, 2014) launched “Energising Ireland’s Rural Economy” the report of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA). The report was jointly commissioned in September 2012 by Minister Phil Hogan, T.D., and Minister Simon Coveney, T.D. in recognition that 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. The Report and recommendations are attached.
· It was also apparent at that time that both the differential degree of economic development and the variable impacts of the economic downturn between urban and rural areas needed 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.
· Chaired by Mr Pat Spillane and consisting of a range of experts in both rural and economic development the Commission have now produced this very interesting and informative report that addresses not only the frameworks required at national level to support rural economic development but also the human and resource potential in rural Ireland . The report contains 34 recommendations and is the culmination of a large body of work throughout 2013.
· In launching the report the Taoiseach said “The Government has a plan for rural Ireland. The previous Government and its policies left rural Ireland completely exposed to the strong economic headwind that hit our country. Change for the better is coming. New ways of helping people are being rolled out across the country to give everyone the opportunity to update their skills, to work, to start their own business and to raise their family in the place they call home. I am passionate about rural Ireland – its past, its future, its people. It is vital to plan for the future and this is where this report on the Economic Development of Rural Areas comes into play. When my colleagues Minister Hogan and Minister Coveney commissioned this report at the end of 2012, it was with the purpose of providing Government with the information necessary to development new policy to better support rural Ireland. I want to thank the Commission and its Chair Mr Pat Spillane for working tirelessly during 2013 to ensure that anyone who wanted to contribute to this report was facilitated to do so.”
· Minister Hogan added “I have watched the CEDRA process with interest and believe that this report embodies the views of the people who live and work in rural Ireland who have a deep desire to support the development of the rural economy into the future. The recommendations are comprehensive and far reaching and I am confident that the information provided in the report will support us as we endeavour to facilitate the potential of rural communities to actively participate in their own development and make a significant contribution to the future development of the Irish economy as a whole”.
· “The recommendations contained in this report are far reaching and involve all Government Departments and a number of state agencies. In this context I am committed to working together with my colleagues in Government and other relevant stakeholders to outline a plan to address the issues and challenges detailed in the report,” the Minister concluded.”
· With a total of 100 meetings held in 2013 between public and stakeholder, meetings with individuals and groups of business experts and meetings of the full body of the commission itself the consultation that formed a significant part of the work of CEDRA provides a solid foundation for the report focussed on and provided by the people who live and work in rural Ireland.
This report launched today along with a more comprehensive research report will be available on www.ruralireland.ie and the websites of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government www.environ.ie and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine www.agriculture.gov.ie.