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Policy issues concerning Rural Development

Broadband timetable
Broadband Plan Timetable

The provision of quality Broadband to all citizens has been an objective of many Governments since 2008.  This graphic illustrates some of the stages to date.  Following the withdrawal of two of the three bidders for the licence to provide this essential service, delivery seems even further away.

The current approach to housing policy in Ireland is not working; the private sector will never build social housing units on the scale required.  Government must commit to building sufficient social housing units to eliminate the current housing waiting list.  This is the only way to address Ireland’s ongoing housing and homelessness crisis.  This is a key finding of Social Justice Ireland's National Social Monitor 2017.

The latest issue of Social Justice Ireland's Employment Monitor examines regional employment trends.  Figures released in August by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show a wide divergence in the experiences of Ireland’s different regions as regards unemployment and job creation trends.

There will be nearly 1 million people aged 65 and over by 2031 – an increase of 86.4 per cent.  Of these 136,000 will be aged 85 or over by 2031, an increase of 132.8 per cent.  Now is the time to plan Ireland’s investment in services and infrastructure. This is one of the key issues highlighted in the National Social Monitor 2016.

A brief snapshot on how Ireland is performing in terms of rural development and some policy proposals.

An unequal and two tier recovery is emerging in Ireland.  Poverty rates at all levels are higher in rural areas and the median income is lower in rural Ireland.  While employment is increasing in urban areas, unemployment is still a significant challenge for rural Ireland.

We are focussing far too much on the performance of the economy and not nearly enough on issues such as aging, social housing and sustainability, that have major implications for the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole according to the National Social Monitor 2015 published by Social Justice Ireland.  It goes on to argue that a balance is required between the various aspects of life if the wellbeing of this and future generations is to be secured.

Ireland needs an integrated transition from an agricultural to a rural and regional development agenda to improve the quality of life for all rural dwellers.  This will require policy coherence in terms of investment, social services, governance and sustainability as part of our Policy Framework for a Just Ireland.  A full analysis of the challenges in promoting facing Rural Ireland and our policy proposals are contained in our Socio-Economic Review 2015 ‘Towards a Just Society’.  The chapter is available below.

If Ireland is to have vibrant local communities then Government must support the provision of services that are vital for small, struggling communities across rural Ireland.

Social Justice Ireland welcomes the news that 37% of IDA-led investments were in regions outside Dublin and Cork in 2014.  This is an improvement on the 2013 figure of 30%, but Social Justice Ireland reminds the Government that €200m must be invested in high-speed broadband outside Ireland’s major cities to create vital and sustainable employment by indigenous companies and multinational firms. 

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