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Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton, has welcomed the Government’s publication of the ‘Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy 2021-2025’ plan to maximise development and create new opportunities for rural communities.

Speaking after the publication of the plan, David Stanton said: “The ‘Our Rural Future’ document represents an ambitious policy to support and ultimately transform rural communities, including those in Cork East. The plan will reflect changes to living and working practices brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and will further aid the recovery of rural communities in facing the challenges presented by public health restrictions.

“The policy, which complements and supports the delivery of other Government strategies and initiatives including Project Ireland 2040, the Climate Action Plan and the National Broadband Plan, proposes several key actions for implementation over its five-year lifetime.

“The further encouragement of remote working to boost rural communities is a key objective of the plan to be achieved through the establishment of remote working hubs, hot desking initiatives, revised tax arrangements and the introduction of legislation to provide employees with the right to request remote work. Remote working and learning can only be progressed further by the availability of a strong broadband connection and so such proposals will be underpinned by the rollout of the National Broadband Plan with options being examined for quicker deployment where possible.

“The option to work remotely will greatly increase the availability of employment opportunities for those in rural communities in Cork East and the plan has committed to exploring further job creation through balanced regional development, targeted IDA and technological university investment and the publication of a new Action Plan for Apprenticeship. A variety of employment opportunities in local Green Economy areas will also be progressed as Ireland transitions to a climate neutral economy.

“The revitalisation of rural town and village infrastructure through a new Town Centre First approach is also a key element of the plan and aims to reutilise vacant buildings, encourage pop-up shops and markets and develop outdoor spaces for socialising. Funding for outdoor recreational amenities and the promotion of local cultural heritage features prominently in the plan while rural living is further encouraged through a variety of community supports and improvements in rural public transport services”, concluded Deputy Stanton.

The ‘Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy 2021-2025’ document is available in full on the Government of Ireland website: