Clare has become the first county to launch a rural development strategy following the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development.
Michael Ring, T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, has officially launched the Clare Rural Development Strategy 2026 at a ceremony hosted by the Clare Rural Development Forum in Kilmaley Community Day-Care Centre.
The 10-year blueprint targets the creation of 4,000 jobs over the lifetime of the plan through the development of community-led social enterprises supported by Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office Clare, the Office of the Action Plan for Jobs (APJ), the LEADER Programme and the rural and community support unit of Clare County Council.
Digital hubs will be established at numerous locations throughout the county to support rural enterprise by facilitating e-working, small-scale training and conferencing.
The Strategy also targets the development of community-run Multi-Service Centres which will aim to provide a range of public services such as GP, postal, social protection, health, transport, advice and information from a single building. Innovative rural transport initiatives such as a type of ‘Rural Uber’, community car pooling and community bus services are also earmarked under the Strategy, while Clare County Council will be establishing Rural Community Development Officers in each of Clare’s four Municipal Districts in late 2017.
Speaking at today’s official launch of the Clare Rural Development Strategy, Michael Ring, T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, said, “Rural Ireland is changing and it is really encouraging to see that the members of the Clare Rural Development Forum are responding to these changes with a rural strategy which addresses rural challenges in a creative and practical way. With its focus on rural job creation, improved transport linkages, access to broadband and joint services this strategy complements the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. It is my priority to ensure that Government Departments, local authorities and community networks follow the same strategic path in relation to rural development. The Clare Rural Development Strategy is an example of this approach in action.”
Councillor Tom McNamara, Mayor of Clare, commented, “The Clare Rural Development Strategy is the result of communities and organisations with an interest in the future development of the county coming together. Through the Clare Rural Development Forum, we have devised a blueprint for the rejuvenation of rural communities across Clare over the next decade.”
Pat Dowling, Chairperson of the Clare Rural Development Forum and Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said, “The members of Forum are honoured to be in a position to become the first county to devise and commence implementation of a Rural Development Strategy that is very much in keeping with National Government policy in this area.”
The Clare Rural Development Strategy is available from the offices of Clare County Council at Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare, or may be downloaded from www.clarecoco.ie.