The Government's Action Plan for Rural Development was published in January 2017 as a three-year plan to support the economic and social development of rural Ireland. The Action Plan runs to the end of 2019, and my Department has now commenced work on developing the next phase of rural policy, from 2020 onwards.
As part of this process, my Department held a series of consultation events throughout the country to obtain the views of stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities facing rural Ireland over the next five years.
Eight events have taken place, in Cavan, Donegal Town, Carlow, Thurles, the Aran Islands, Claremorris, Ennis, and Tralee.
The events which have taken place to date have been well attended by a wide range of stakeholders including local communities, State Agencies, local government, and central Government Departments. All of the contributions from these events will assist my Department in developing the next phase of policy for rural Ireland.
The new policy will build on the Action Plan for Rural Development. It will be forward-looking, and will seek to strengthen and build resilience in rural economies and communities. As is the case with the current Action Plan, the new policy will reflect a whole-of-Government commitment to rural Ireland.
My objective is to publish the policy at the start of 2020.