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Rural Ideas Forum Opened to Focus on a Socially Inclusive Rural Ireland

Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities Joe O’Brien TD opened the 6th Rural Ideas Forum as the Department of Rural and Community Development continued its series of engagement fora. These events provide an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities that impact on rural communities and economies.

A virtual gathering of key rural stakeholders got together to generate ideas about tackling exclusion and isolation in rural Ireland, through the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and other social inclusion initiatives, with the opportunity for the discussion to contribute to the development of the next iteration of SICAP, which is due to commence in 2024.

Minister O’Brien began his remarks by reminding the attendees that as someone from a rural background, he was particularly interested in hearing fresh ideas as to how we can work to improve the lives of those living in rural areas who might be experiencing difficulties.

Referencing Our Rural Future, the Department’s flagship policy, Minister O’Brien said, “these events are an important element in our ongoing engagement with rural stakeholders and citizens under the Government’s rural development policy, Our Rural Future. This is a hugely ambitious plan for rural Ireland and one which is already having a positive impact in communities, towns and villages across the country.”

“I have seen the impact of work of SICAP on communities and also the passion and enthusiasm of SICAP workers to ensure that no-one is left behind. But there is definitely a lot more to do as we prepare for the next iteration of SICAP and today’s event will help inform the work of my department in developing the programme.”

There was key inputs at the event from Maria Molloy (AMACH LGBT), Justin Sammon, (Mayo North East Local Development Company) and Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO, North East/West Kerry Development Company.

A recording of the event will be made available on the Department’s website in the coming days.

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