O’Neill Says White Paper Will Benefit Rural Areas
AGRICULTURE and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched an action plan designed to address the many challenges facing rural communities both now and in the future.
The Rural White Paper Action Plan is the first cross-departmental initiative to focus entirely on rural issues in the north and will provide a framework to guide the work of the Executive in responding to rural challenges over the next ten years.
Speaking at the launch the Minister highlighted the significance of the initiative and said: “This is the first time an action plan has been created which includes commitments on rural issues from all government Departments. I am grateful to my Executive colleagues for their support in bringing forward this initiative and to stakeholders for their commitment and contribution to its development.
“Our rural communities face very real challenges, particularly in relation to matters such as health, transport, education, employment, access to services and the environment. This Action Plan demonstrates that the Executive recognises the important social and economic contribution that our rural areas make to wider society and that it is committed to taking real and meaningful action to help improve the quality of life of those living and working in our rural areas.
“It is important now that we move forward to commence implementing the commitments made by Departments in the Action Plan and I will be working closely with my Executive colleagues to ensure that progress is made quickly. I believe that the Rural White Paper Action Plan can make a positive long term impact on our rural communities and help ensure the future sustainability of our rural areas.”
The Rural Community Network (RCN) is the largest rural regional voluntary organisation in the north. It’s Chief Executive Michael Hughes welcomed the publication of the Action Plan and said: “Having campaigned for many years for a Rural White Paper, RCN views the Action Plan, as an important step in the movement of rural policy and rural issues, long perceived within government as the primary responsibility of DARD, onto the agenda of all the other Assembly Departments.
“This is a significant achievement by the Minister and her officials and represents a foundation on which to build the case for a renewed focus by policy makers on the needs of rural communities. We hope that the consensus building approach adopted by the Department in the development of the Action Plan will lead to more cross departmental working on rural issues.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Dungannon
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North