Ann Phelan, Minister of State for Rural Affairs at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, chaired the inaugural meeting of the high level Inter-departmental Group (IDG) tasked with implementing the report of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas – CEDRA.

Commenting today, Minister Phelan said that her immediate priority had been to get this Group up and running without delay. “As the newly appointed Minister of State for Rural Affairs, I am personally very conscious of my role in energising rural communities and raising awareness, at all levels, of the specific challenges they face. I am fully committed to doing all that I can to assist economic development and stimulate job creation in rural areas.”

This first meeting involved an initial evaluation of the 35 CEDRA recommendations in order to assign lead responsibility for actions and to clarify and assess what is already being done. Work also commenced on identifying new initiatives to advance the wide-ranging recommendations. Significant progress was made on each of these aspects and it is anticipated that further advancement will be made before the next meeting of the inter-departmental group in September.

The Minister will continue to chair the CEDRA IDG to oversee and direct progress. Over the next few meetings, she intends to identify priority recommendations and develop clear implementable actions to assist rural economic development. Minister Phelan added “judging from the very positive interaction and engagement at today’s meeting, I am confident that this new Group, which includes the key Departments, will work effectively and collaboratively to achieve these aims”.