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Teagasc welcomes launch of CEDRA report

The CEDRA report contains 38 recommendations that, if implemented, will enable the rural economy and communities contribute to and benefit from national economic recovery, according to Teagasc Head of Rural Economy and Development and CEO of CEDRA, Prof Cathal O’Donoghue.

‘Energising Ireland’s Rural Economy’ is the title of the report from the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) which was launched in Castlebar, county Mayo recently by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan.

Prof Cathal O’Donoghue of Teagasc has welcomed the commitment made by Taoiseach to take a personal role in ensuring that Government deliver on the report’s recommendations. Prof. O’Donoghue said; “A new strategy for the economic development of rural Ireland is critical as unemployment increased in rural areas by 192% since the crash, but by 114% in urban areas. The main reason for this is that construction was our rural development strategy for the previous decade which turned out to be unsustainable. Rural Ireland requires both a short term strategy to reduce unemployment and a long term strategy to improve the economic structure of rural areas.”

The Taoiseach welcomed the recommendations of the Commission for the increased coordination across government to facilitate economic development of rural areas, which is a policy area that spans most government Departments. There has been a gap in national governance structures in relation to the coordination of actions to support rural economic development. Minister Hogan announced the establishment of an implementation group to improve policy coordination across government.

At the launch, Dr Noel Cawley, Chairman of Teagasc, presented the Taoiseach with a copy of the research report containing evidence from the 100 plus meetings with the public and experts from every county in the country and analysis from an extensive research exercise.

Thirty seven research contributors from Teagasc, the universities and research institutions contributed to the preparation of the research report and 23 background papers. Teagasc Senior Research Officer, Dr David Meredith who led the CEDRA research project, highlighted key findings from this research and consultation process:

  • The need for an integrated approach to rural economic development

  • The need to provide a support pathway to help rural businesses and, particularly, small scale food producers to develop export markets for their products

  • The under exploited opportunities for rural tourism in many parts of Ireland

  • The need for a target stimulus programme to help rural towns get back on their feet.

Pat Spillane, Chairman of CEDRA summarised; “The recommendations in the CEDRA report are not about a dole for rural areas. Rather these recommendations serve to help unlock the economic potential of rural areas to contribute to the national recovery. We have demonstrated that there is a need for help, an opportunity for action and the goodwill to get things done.”

Pictured with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny at the launch of the recent CEDRA report entitled ‘Energising Ireland’s Rural Economy’ in Castlebar, Co. Mayo were David Meredith & Kevin Heanue, Senior Research Officers, Teagasc; Prof Cathal O’Donoghue, Teagasc Head of Rural Economy and Development and CEO of CEDRA with Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director and Pat Spillane, Chairperson of CEDRA.