Southern Regional Assembly RSES LowRes

Good Practice Example: Clare Rural Development Strategy 2026. Our Life, Our Home This Strategy identifies as significant challenges, population decline in parts of the county, as well as loss of public services (health services including GPs, Post Offices, schools, Garda stations, transport services, enterprise development, welfare support services, etc.), and a protracted wait for physical and service infrastructure (e.g. schools, broadband, water, public transport). The Strategy also identifies that the flexibility of rural communities to respond to emerging needs is often constrained by ongoing commitments to maintaining costly community facilities and buildings that far exceed their current needs. It states that these dynamics will lead to terminal decline unless they are reversed. The Strategy has a 10-year, 4,000 jobs creation target, with a particular focus on social enterprise. In parallel, the Clare Economic Development Strategy will provide the economic conditions and supports for the growth of enterprise and employment across the whole county. This Strategy will focus on the further growth of the high performing Ennis-Shannon economic corridor to the benefit of all of Clare. The leadership of the different communities across Clare is supported by a special Rural and Community Support Unit in Clare County Council. Together, this coalition of interests will identify and support new opportunities for co-operative endeavour and individual achievement. transition to a low carbon and sustainable future and can play an important role in increasing and diversifying farm income. By incorporating forestry into the farming mix, agricultural production can continue alongside timber production while delivering both economic and environmental benefits. Food Wise 2025: A 10-year Vision for the Irish Agri-Food Industry sets out a strategic plan with growth projections for 23,000 additional direct jobs. Other relevant policy supports and initiatives include: • Delivery of hi-speed broadband (National Broadband Plan); • Marine economy (Harnessing our Ocean Wealth and the National Marine Planning Framework) and future regional and local marine plans; • Forestry (Growing for the Future and Business Area Unit Strategic Plans); • Energy (White Paper-Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-30);

RPO 46

Digital and Physical Infrastructure in Rural Areas It is an objective to expedite the completion of infrastructure servicing diverse settlements to support innovation, enterprise start-ups and competitiveness. This includes high quality broadband and mobile communication services to all rural locations, water and wastewater facilities for the growth of settlements, sustainable energy supply, enhanced transport connectivity including rural public transport services and greenway walking and pedestrian corridors between settlements.

RPO 47

Rural Partnership Models It is an objective to promote partnership models (e.g. the Partnership Parishes project in Co. Clare) which support sharing services across a network of settlements and communities.

Diversity in the Rural Economy While our rural economy and society is changing rapidly, in many instances it remains dependent on traditional sectors of agriculture, forestry, fishing, and construction. Employment in the agricultural sector can be low paying necessitating off-farmemployment, often in construction. Non-dairy farmers are particularly vulnerable as their income is largely dependent on EU and State transfers. There is also a wide variation in farm income. Rural areas need diversification to retain their population and supplement income. A ‘one-size fits all approach’ will not suffice. We must take account of diversity and tailor initiatives accordingly. Our agriculture, forestry, fishing resource base offers many opportunities for diverse enterprise development, renewable energy production as well as tourism, leisure and recreation development. Specific products and services, fishing, mariculture, seafood harvesting, fresh and processed products, including artisanal foods, is established or developing as important enterprise opportunities. As a significant employer and driver of economic growth, the agriculture sector is supported by the RSES. The agri-food and forestry sectors are an integral part in Ireland’s economy and are our largest indigenous industries. Forestry is central for Ireland’s

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


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