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Rural Affairs top agenda at Ministers’ Leitrim meeting

7 September, 2007


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has met with Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (DCRGA) at Dromahair in County Leitrim. She also met with Jimmy Devins TD, Minister for Disability Matters and Mental Health, whose constituency covers the Sligo/Leitrim area, and Mr Donald McDonald from Border Action, a group that promotes cross border development and was involved in the delivery of PEACE II measures and the INTERREG IIIA programme.

The meeting focused on rural development issues including rural childcare and the role of government as a rural champion.

Speaking after the meeting Ms Gildernew said:

"All Ireland co-operation in rural development is vital to ensure the sustainability of all our rural communities. I think it is very symbolic that I am meeting Minister Ó Cuív and Minister Devins here in Leitrim, a border area, to discuss co-operation. Our border areas have historically suffered from social, cultural and economic disadvantage and have been on the periphery when it has come to government investment decisions.

"However, there have already been many positive examples of our two Departments working together, in particular through the current INTERREG and LEADER programmes. This cross border co-operation has supported the creation of new industries and jobs and reinvigorated our Border areas.

"I am very keen that this co-operation continues in order to address a range of issues facing our rural dwellers. Rural people face the same challenges across the whole island of Ireland, and a partnership approach pays dividends."

The Ministers discussed the recent approval of the two EU Rural Development Programmes - among the first in Europe to be approved. They also shared views on several other rural development issues including DCRGA's experiences around development of a Rural White Paper and the need for improved rural childcare facilities. Minister Ó Cuív also updated Minister Gildernew on the success of schemes like CLÁR (Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais), which supports investment in physical, economic and social infrastructure across a variety of measures in rural areas.

The Minister concluded by thanking Minister Ó Cuív and Minister Devins, adding:

"I am very grateful to Minister Ó Cuív and Minister Devins and their officials for hosting this meeting and I am delighted that we have been able to build on the existing good relationship between our Departments." ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. Minister Gildernew and her officials met with Minister Ó Cuív and his officials at the Depot Centre, a community resource centre, in Dromahair, County Leitrim.
  2. The DCRGA has responsibility for a range of functions including community development and a range of rural development initiatives.

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