The Commission for the Economic Development for Rural Areas (CEDRA) is holding a public meeting in Letterkenny Institute of Technology on Thursday 14th March at 7.15pm. The Commission was set up to collect evidence to inform the medium term economic development of rural areas for the period to 2025.
The Chairman of the Commission, well known GAA star Pat Spillane, is keen to engage with the public and will be listening to their experiences and suggestions regarding economic development in their community. “The feedback and contributions that we receive from the public are vital to the work of the commission in the preparation of its report. We need solid, practical and workable recommendations to put into the report. We also are asking anyone with an interest in economic rural development to make a submission though our website http://www.ruralireland.ie/ ”
The meeting will focus on discussing two key issues; identifying local opportunities for job creation and economic growth and establishing what needs to happen to ensure that these opportunities are realised.These are critical issues in many rural areas, which have experienced substantial falls in employment and increasing unemployment since the economic downturn began.Ian Brannigan, acting CEO of the Western Development Commission, will open the meeting. The WDC are partnering with Teagasc in the operation of CEDRA.
The meeting will hear from Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue, Head of Teagasc’s Rural Economy Development Programme and also head of the Executive of the Commission. Prof. O’Donoghue will present the latest research on the impact of the economic downturn in Co. Donegal. This study shows that the number of people classified as unemployed has grown from 7,265 to 17,489 (+141%). These changes are largely driven by the collapse of the construction sector and related retail enterprises.
Prof. O’Donoghue stated that “Whilst the impacts of the downturn on rural areas have been severe, there is hope. The sustained growth over the past few years in the export sector, particularly food products, is bringing benefits to Co. Donegal. It is vital that all steps are taken to ensure the rural economy benefits to the greatest extent possible from the recovery. This can be achieved by developing greater linkages between local businesses to enable them to be more competitive and reach new markets.”
The evidence collected at the public meetings will be used to inform the national jobs strategy and to make recommendations that will be sent to Government later in the year.
For more information, please visit www.ruralireland.ie
The Commission for the Economic Development for Rural Areas
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Teagasc Food Research Centre