8th July, 2014

 Council for the West wants “immediate implementation” of CEDRA proposals for revival of rural Ireland

 

The Council for the West has called on Government to implement “as a matter of extreme urgency” most of the recommendations made by a commission established to promote economic development in rural areas.

The report by the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA), chaired by Kerry football legend and broadcaster Pat Spillane, features a 38-point strategy to guide medium-term economic development in rural areas until 2025.

The Council for the West, which made a lengthy submission to the commission, has given a broad welcome to most of the recommendations made by CEDRA – and is now adamant that the report must be implemented immediately.

“This is a matter of extreme urgency. We badly need balanced regional development and the CEDRA report puts it on the national agenda,” said Sean Hannick, chairperson.

“However, a report has no value until it is put into practice. That’s why Government must act immediately to take CEDRA’s recommendations and to turn them into enforceable policy.

“We agree wholeheartedly with CEDRA that there is a need to centralise accountability for rural economic development and ensure that one entity/person/agency/department is responsible for ensuring that all governance frameworks supporting rural economic development are doing so in an efficient and effective manner.

 

“CEDRA have recommended a high-level implementation committee to make their recommendations a reality, and we would agree with that too.”

The CEDRA report has highlighted opportunities in a number of areas, including tourism; the green economy; agriculture, food and fishing; the creative sector; marine; the caring sector; software/financial services; and medical devices.

Thirty seven research contributors from Teagasc, the universities and research institutions contributed to the preparation of the research report and 23 background papers. Teagasc Senior Research Officer, Dr David Meredith who led the CEDRA research project, highlighted key findings from this research and consultation process:

“A commission of this nature was long overdue,” added Mr Hannick, “but the report is only a step along the way. We are now calling on our political representatives to apply pressure now so that the recommendations are given proper status – and that means the establishment of a single implementation body with high-level accountability,” said Mr Hannick.

“Furthermore, we urge our political representatives to pressurise the Government to look again at two specific recommendations in our own submission to CEDRA. These are, firstly, the need to include an equality impact assessment as a criterion to be adhered to in the implementation of economic policy so as to ensure that rural areas are not adversely affected; and secondly, the need to establish a Department of Rural Affairs with its own Minister so as to effectively prioritise, evaluate and manage rural development issues.

“Otherwise, the recommendations will just die on the vine, and the decline of rural Ireland will continue apace – in fact, it could accelerate the decline as committed and enthusiastic people in the regions realise that a great opportunity will have been lost.”

ENDS

The Council for the West is a voluntary, independent, non-political body which monitors and reports on the socio-economic state of the West and acts as a lobby group promoting the development of the West. The Council for the West was set up by the Western Bishops in 1994 and has successfully campaigned for retention of Objective 1 Status for the region in 1997. It continues to campaign for balanced regional development and highlights issues of major concern for the region. Seán Hannick is Chairman of the Council for the West and Vice-Chairperson of the Mayo Industries Group

 

Contact Points:

Chairman:                        Seán Hannick: 087 2564824

Vice-Chairman:                Declan O’Callaghan: 087 2435011

Co-ordinator:                   Caroline Wilson, Tel: 096 32975 / 0862899296 / email: cftwest@iol.ie