The chair of the new Committee on Rural and Community Development has committed to creating a counter balance to the capital.
Fine Gael TD for Clare, Joe Carey, has been appointed by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to lead the new Joint Oireachtas Committee.
Deputy Carey said the Committee will ensure rural Ireland will play an active role in the nation’s future growth.
Deputy Carey said: “As a TD from a rural county with a strong involvement in community development throughout my time as a public representative, I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to chair the Oireachtas committee on Rural and Community Development.
“It’s my strong belief that national policy must compliment both regional and rural policy. It’s critical for our country’s future that the imbalance created by a dominant Dublin is tackled through complementary regional and rural polices designed to create a counter balance to the capital.
“This type of approach will benefit not just rural Ireland but Dublin as well.
“I am acutely aware that rural communities have suffered disproportionately from the economic downturn and I believe that the benefits of the recovery should be targeted at helping rural Ireland play an active role in the nation’s future growth.
“In this respect, the implementation of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development is vital.
“We need to empower and build sustainable communities by growing jobs and enterprise, improving connectivity and maximising our tourism, cultural and heritage assets.
“Work is well underway across Government departments and agencies to deliver on the projects that will make a real difference to people who live and work in rural communities.
“Progress is already being made on new funding initiatives, such as the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, ensuring that money is going directly to the small rural communities that need it most.
“The CLÁR programme has also been reopened and is targeting the most vulnerable rural communities.
“This is the first time that a cross Government, co-ordinated plan has been developed with the specific aim of revitalising and supporting rural communities.
“I look forward to helping turn those proposals into sustainable actions for the benefit of our rural communities.
“In this role, I will actively engage with the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, the Department and with my Oireachtas colleagues to ensure that issues effecting communities and rural areas are both highlighted and addressed through the development of strong policy positions by this new Committee.
“I am looking forward to this new challenge and I am wholly committed to ensuring the Committee’s work has a positive and beneficial impact on rural and community life,” said Deputy Carey.