Minister Humphreys addresses Clare Rural Development Forum and discusses opportunities for rural communities in the Action Plan for Rural Development
The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, today (Thursday) addressed the Clare Rural Development Forum on the opportunities for rural communities in Clare through the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development.
Minister Humphreys met with Clare County Council CEO, Pat Dowling and Director of Rural Development and West Clare Municipal District (Acting), Mr. Leonard Cleary. She also met with key staff members of the Council, including the newly established Culture Team, the Broadband Officer and members of the Clare Rural Development Forum. The Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential, includes a number of key targets, including creating 135,000 jobs outside Dublin by 2020 and boosting rural tourism by 12%.
Minister Humphreys also visited a number of successful rural development projects in Feakle, County Clare, including a community transport initiative, a derelict property which has been refurbished as an enterprise and a local digital project. The Minister is visiting rural communities around the country as part of a series of structured engagements on the Action Plan for Rural Development.
Speaking after her meeting with Clare County Council Minister Humphreys said:
“I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet with Pat Dowling and the team in Clare County Council and indeed the members of the Clare Rural Development Forum. County Clare is taking an innovative approach to rural development, showing how rural communities can work collaboratively and focus on their own strengths and opportunities. Rural Ireland has so much to offer and I am keen that the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development enhances all aspects of life in rural communities.
“I am delighted at the appointment of Clare’s dedicated Broadband Officer, Urban McMahon and I would like to thank him for the work he and his team are doing to prepare for the rollout of high-speed broadband in Clare – this work has already progressed by rolling our free public wifi in Ennis and other towns in the county.
“Rural communities themselves are best placed to develop solutions to the challenges they face and this is clearly evident in Clare. I was delighted to have the chance to meet those working on the ground here in Clare to really make their rural communities thrive for young people, families and businesses.
“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.”