Labour Conference 2015 – Ann Phelan

Labour Conference 2015 – Ann Phelan


that.
>> Good morning delegates, I’m delighted to see you all looking
so fresh and well this morning, so
you’re very, very welcome. I’m
delighted to be here before you this morning
to introduce my role as Minister of
State for, very long title that we’ve
now shortened to rural affairs,
which means that I’m almost responsible for
everything and anything that happens
outside the five very large urban
areas. My role was created in July of
this year because of the Labour
Party’s commitment to the people who
live in rural Ireland and I think it’s
worth bearing in mind that sometimes
the media like to portray the Labour
Party as an urban based party, but
believe me and you, the Labour Party is
very, very rooted in our rural communities,
and I think it should not be lost on
conference here this morning that 2.2
million people live in rural Ireland,
so that is a very significant amount of
people. We continue to fight for our
rural communities in terms of
protecting our post offices, our small rural
schools, developing marketing within the
artisan food industries and craft
sectors, rolling out the national
broadband plan which focuses on rural broadband
and indeed investing in rural
tourism. My own brief is varied and
diverse and in that I have special
responsibility for rolling out of the 34
recommendations contained in what is
commonly known now as the Cedra report
which was the report commissioned for
rural communities. As you all know,
the downturn affected rural communities
all across Ireland very, very significantly.
We are trying to deal with the overhang
of very significant unemployment,
emigration and all of the social issues
that are left behind because of emigration, trying to deal with
the issues of rural isolation, and
indeed creating jobs sustainable jobs,
in rural Ireland, that can be
linked to the environment, linked to the
landscape and develop our tourism
product. Work is well advanced on rural
economic development pilot schemes, I
will announce details of these
schemes in the coming weeks.
The pilot scheme will be integrated
with preparation of local economic and
community plans by local authorities to
maximise the economic and community
benefits of the Reds. The reds in line
with the regional action plan for jobs,
which was recently announced, will
allow areas to play their own part in
driving their own economic recovery.
So my role as Minister for rural affairs will be working very,
very much with the local authorities, very
much working down in the communities,
in rural Ireland, so that I’m not
imposing any plans on the communities,
the communities working in tandem
with me and the local authorities and
indeed the leader companies, where
we’ll roll-out the rural Development
Plan that is the budget for
supporting rural enterprise and job creation.
That is where we’ll be working. It is
a very bottoms up approach, and that is
where I am quite happy to work. So therefore I am proposing
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