If you have ideas for a socially inclusive rural Ireland, this event is for you. Next Tuesday, November 15 (from 10.30-12.30) ideas are being sought during an online forum organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

It invites anyone who is “passionate about rural Ireland” to join the event to discuss key themes from ‘Our Rural Future’.

There are 150 objectives in the ‘Our Rural Future’ policy, as we reported on last year. There are some great ideas in the document, but how practical are they – you decide: https://www.changingireland.ie/our-rural-future-the-governments-blueprint-to-transform-the-country/

Tuesday’s forum is part of a continuing series of online stakeholder engagement events by the Department to discuss important topics in its policy document ‘Our Rural Future – Rural Development Policy 2021-2025’.

The Department said, “The events provide an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities that impact on rural communities and economies. Attendees will learn more about ongoing work relating to key objectives contained in the policy, and hear from a panel of key stakeholders.”

The Department says, “Non-urban living has many benefits, but rural isolation and loneliness are growing concerns – feeling isolated and alone can have a negative impact on physical and mental health.”

It points out that the Department has responsibility for the Government’s primary social inclusion programme, SICAP.

“As we design the next iteration of the programme we would like you to join us at this Rural Ideas Forum, to explore the barriers facing disadvantaged individuals/communities that prevent them from being part of a socially inclusive rural Ireland, and what more needs to be done to contribute to the integration of a person into the community,” it says.

There are three main speakers for the event which is themed ‘A Socially Inclusive Rural Ireland’ are:

  • Maria Molloy, Vice Chair, AMACH LGBT+ Galway
  • Emma Fallon, Cultural Development Officer, MNE Local Development Company
  • Éamonn O’Reilly, CEO, NEWKD Local Development Company

You can book your place to participate in the forum here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/rural-ideas-fora-a-socially-inclusive-rural-ireland-tickets-443949513947

Registration is required and the number of participants is limited.

The forum is taking place at a time when the challenges are increasing. As Mary O’Donoghue of West Clare Family Resource Centre told this magazine last month when commenting on a report about rural poverty published by Clare PPN, “There is no reason services and infrastructure can’t or shouldn’t be provided here.”

The report revealed a need for more housing, for tackling housing dereliction and for more GPs. Read our story in full here: https://www.changingireland.ie/clare-is-not-alaska-report-highlights-lack-of-access-to-services-in-rural-ireland/

For example, we were swept away with ideas at the OECD’s Rural Development Forum in Co. Cavan. We heard views from Columbia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and elsewhere.

Tuesday’s forum is about ideas from people in Ireland, in particular in relation to the Our Rural Future policy.