Minister Humphreys begins series of engagement with rural communities on Action Plan for Rural Development
The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, is today (Friday) beginning a series of structured engagements with rural communities on Realising our Rural Potential, the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. The Action Plan, which was published in January, includes a number of key targets, including creating 135,000 jobs outside Dublin by 2020, revitalising 600 towns and villages over three years and boosting rural tourism by 12%.
Minister Humphreys will be meeting with key personnel in Local Authorities and those working on the ground in rural Ireland to discuss issues facing rural communities and how the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development can help maximise their potential. She will also take the opportunity to visit successful rural development projects around the country to examine best practice in rural areas.
The first of these meetings takes place today in Co. Monaghan. Minister Humphreys is meeting with Monaghan County Council CEO, Eamonn O’Sullivan and key members of his staff including the newly established Culture Team and the Broadband Officer.
Minister Humphreys will visit Hope Castle and Lough Muckno to see how innovative projects can have a positive impact on rural communities; both economically and socially. Minister Humphreys is also visiting Bio-Marine Ingredients Ltd which received significant funding as part of the €1.8m EMFF grants to Seafood Processing and Aquaculture Sectors, recently announced by Minister for Agriculture and Food, Michael Creed TD.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“I am delighted to start this series of engagements here in Monaghan, where there are several very good examples of how rural communities can benefit from innovative projects. My Department supported the restoration of the Gate Lodge at Hope Castle and the enhancement of facilities at the magnificent Lough Muckno, which have created excellent tourism and economic opportunities for the surrounding areas.
“The new Bio-Marine plant in Lough Egish Foodpark is creating 25 new jobs and the company is planning ambitiously for the future after receiving a grant of €510,000 from the Department of Agriculture.This approach is key to our strategy for rural Ireland; by supporting the creation of long-term, sustainable jobs we are helping to provide more opportunities for people to live and work in rural areas.
“Together with the Government’s Rural Ambassador, Pat Spillane, I hope to visit as many rural communities as possible in the coming months, to speak to Local Authorities and other stakeholders about our co-ordinated approach to rural Ireland. While I have met with Local Authority Chief Executives collectively to discuss the Action Plan on a number of occasions, nothing beats getting out on the ground and meeting local communities. The Action Plan for Rural Development takes a ground up approach; I want to support rural communities to focus on their strengths, build sustainable enterprises and maximise their rural potential.”