34 ways to improve Irish country life

Cedra’s recommendations for rural Ireland

27. Prioritise State-owned infrastructure for development, with Co Mayo’s Great Western Greenway as an example.

27. Prioritise State-owned infrastructure for development, with Co Mayo’s Great Western Greenway as an example.


The Commission for Economic Development of Rural Areas (Cedra) report has 34 recommendations.

1 A “clear and committed” statement from Government on how it proposes to support integrated rural economic development to 2025.

2 Assigning responsibility for delivery and co-ordination of rural economic development to the Minister for the Environment, backed up by a high level implementation committee, and with provision for same in all relevant department and bodies.

3 Establishment of [the] strategic research function within the Department of the Environment.

4 Government and stakeholders should maximise potential of available funding mechanisms.

5Piloting of a select number of rural economic development zones.

6 Development of a rural town stimulus programme.

7 Rural Ireland’s needs and potential contribution to economic development should be incorporated in the forthcoming review of the National Spatial Strategy.

8 State agencies, particularly the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, should strengthen collaboration at regional level and look at attracting small scale/niche foreign direct investment to rural areas.

9 Local enterprise offices should act as “first-stop shops” for potentially viable small businesses.

10 Regulatory and administrative frameworks should be proportionate, agile and customer-focused.

11 Continuation of the community-led development approach as reflected in Leader programme.

12 Development of a programme of capacity- building for rural communities.

13 Capacity-building in the social enterprise sector.

14Establishment of a funding mechanism to give incentives to early-stage development of social enterprises.

15 Ring-fenced public funding for broadband, with a priority to deliver a minimum speed of 30 Mbps to all rural areas by the end of 2015.

16 Further State investment to deploy fibre networks with next generation speeds of 100 Mbps “as soon as possible” – and not 40 Mbps as is the current target.

17 Improvement of road networks, with priority given to relief roads that have the potential to open up economic and employment opportunities in key towns.

18 Integration of the rural transport programme into the overall public transport system.

19Adequate provision for economic development needs of rural areas by Irish Water.

20 Provision of micro-loans for renewable energy, tourism and creative industry and seed funding for the general rural economy.

21 Multi-agency approach to reskilling and upskilling of rural dwellers.

22 Capacity-building programmes to develop skill sets required for full participation by all communities in rural economic development.

23 Expansion of the specialty food and beverage sector with product development and access to export markets.

24 More co-ordination by agencies supporting the agri-food sector.

25 Development of a co-ordinated strategy for creative industries.

26 Development of plan for tourism in rural areas as part of national tourism planning.

27 National State-owned infrastructure should be prioritised for development, with Mayo’s Great Western Greenway as an example.

28 Development of local and regional tourism destinations.

29 A “plan-led” development of Ireland’s vast marine territory to support economic targets and goals set out in the Government’s Ocean Wealth plan.

30 Streamlining of foreshore and aquaculture marine licences.

31 Clear national definition of and policy for inshore fisheries.

32 Regulatory and development framework for the State’s seaweed sector, both wild and cultivated.

33 Comprehensive national framework for development and growth of indigenous renewable energy businesses.

34 Further development of public policy instruments to encourage renewable energy production.