The Charter for Rural Ireland was published in January 2016. The Charter is “a statement of Government commitment to support Rural Ireland’s regeneration and to underpin the future sustainable development of Ireland’s rural communities.”
The Charter’s vision recognised the need for strong support for the country’s rural communities and set out a number of specific commitments which would establish frameworks and practices to support the rejuvenation of the rural economy and rural society, particularly in the areas of enterprise creation and development, the maintenance and restoration of the rural cultural heritage, support and protection for existing towns and settlements, safe and secure rural communities and an increased quality of life for all rural dwellers. The Charter also stressed the importance of facilitating the full participation of rural communities in decision-making which impacts upon them, at all stages of policy making and implementation.
Commitments in the Charter were made under four headings:
- A National Framework: Rural Development Policy
- A National Conversation: Effective Communications
- A Local Conversation: Local Authorities and Local and Community development Committees (LCDCs)
- The Common Agricultural Policy and Rural Development: The International Dimension
The Government also reiterated its commitment to sectoral policies and strategies already underway which would have significant impact for rural communities, such as Food Wise 2025, the National Broadband Plan and the Action Plan for Jobs.
The purpose of this document is to examine the commitments made under the Charter and review their implementation, particularly in the context of the publication of the Action Plan for Rural Development.