Brexit, broadband and climate change in survey for new rural Ireland plan

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

brexit climate change

Brexit's impact on rural Ireland to be surveyed

Brexit, broadband and climate change are among the topics the Government wants people in rural Offaly and other counties to give their views upon as part of drawing up a new plan for rural Ireland.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring has launched an online survey which it claims aims to seek the views on the key challenges and opportunities for rural Ireland over the coming five years.

The statement said the survey is part of a consultation process being undertaken by the Department of Rural and Community Development to "inform the development of a new, whole-of-Government policy for rural Ireland for the period 2020-2025".

Survey participants are asked to rate from one to ten the main challenges facing rural Ireland in the next five years. These include: access to public services; availability of appropriate and adequate community facilities/supports; Brexit; broadband/mobile phone connectivity; climate change and environmental sustainability; changing demographics; jobs and business; future of farming/agri-food sector; sustainable tourism; transport and Infrastructure.

The survey also asks people to rank opportunities. The list includes: diversification within farming/agri-food sector; enabling communities; enterprise and employment; jigital connectivity and emerging technologies; revitalisation of towns and villages; sustainable development and climate adaptation (e.g. renewable energy); tourism; transport infrastructure and services.

Minister Ring said this survey is an opportunity for people to have their say on issues which impact rural communities.

"People living, working, and raising families in rural areas throughout the country have important insights into both the challenges which impact on rural living, and the opportunities available to rural areas. These insights will contribute to informing Government policy for rural Ireland over the next five years.

“While change brings challenges, it also brings opportunity, and we need to take full advantage of the opportunities available to strengthen our rural economies and communities for the future," he said.

A statement claimed that the new policy will be "forward-looking" and would build on the progress made through the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. It is also claimed that the next plan will reflect the changing nature of work, and changing society.

The public consultation survey is available online here until Friday 11 October 2019.