Minister Heather Humphreys has today (Thursday, February 25) published the Department of Rural and Community Development’s second Statement of Strategy, covering the period 2021 to 2023.

According to the department, its mission continues to be “to promote rural and community development and to support vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland”.

The strategy sets out the department’s key ‘strategic objectives’ in delivering that mission over the next three years.

Supporting rural development across Ireland more important than ever

Welcoming the strategy, Minister Humphreys said:

“The Department of Rural and Community Development has made an extremely positive contribution across our economy and society since its establishment in 2017.

We have a crucial role to play in supporting all communities across Ireland to thrive and develop and I look forward to delivering on the ambitious programme of work outlined in our new Statement of Strategy.

“Supporting rural and community development across Ireland is more important than ever in the context of the challenges posed by Covid-19, Brexit and climate change.”

The minister added that Covid-19 has demonstrated the “strength and resilience that exists within our communities”.

Opportunities for economic, social and cultural development within rural Ireland are there to be harnessed, notably around exploring the future potential of remote working.

“As we move beyond Covid-19, this department will continue to work to improve the lives of people living in all communities, both urban and rural,” she said.

Strategic goals

The five strategic goals of the department, as outlined in today’s document, are:

  • Advance the economic and social development of rural areas, including the offshore islands;
  • Contribute to and support national regional development objectives;
  • Support empowered, inclusive and resilient communities and a thriving volunteer culture;
  • Enable the community, voluntary, charity, philanthropic and social economy sectors to contribute fully to civil society;
  • Foster and maintain a high performance culture and organisation to achieve our mission in the interests of all communities.

The department will also “continue to collaborate with other departments to advance our strategic objectives and support the delivery of other cross-cutting government priorities that deliver for rural Ireland and communities”.

This includes collaborating with the Department of Agriculture on the implementation of the Rural Development Programme and on inputs into EU regulations for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), insofar as these relate to the LEADER programme.

It will also support the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications in the rollout of the National Broadband Plan, through: supporting Local Authority Broadband Officers; development of Broadband Connection Points; and co-chairing the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce.