Pat Spillane, the former All Star footballer, was in Clare recently to address members of the newly established Clare Rural Development Forum.

Spillane, who is Government ambassador for the National Action Plan for Rural Development, spoke of his passion for rural Ireland, his chairmanship of CEDRA, the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas, and the importance of interagency collaboration. He also acknowledged Clare County Council’s role in convening the rural development forum and establishing the country’s first local authority rural development directorate.

Members of the public are invited to have their say on the proposed the Clare Rural Development Strategy by making written submissions and observations to Clare County Council by 4.00pm on Friday, 31st March.

According to Cllr Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, the strength and depth of the objectives set out in the proposed Rural Development Strategy will be guided by the input of local communities. “Clare is a rural county and it is important therefore, that there is buy-in to this strategy from communities across the county. I would encourage everyone with an interest in the future economic and social development of Clare to contribute to the formation of the Strategy,” he added.

Pat Dowling, CEO of Clare County Council

Pat Dowling, CEO of Clare County Council

Council CEO Pat Dowling commented, “The current policy arena is emerging with a very clear direction that the development and revitalisation of rural Ireland is a key priority. A clear strategy is required to respond to the needs of rural areas in Clare. Addressing this challenge points towards the requirement for a collective response. The forum meetings and the public consultation process are key to shaping a vision for the Clare Rural Development Strategy.

“It is through such consultation that we hope to identify key influences, draft objectives and strategic ideas to complement the Government’s ‘National Action Plan for Rural Ireland’ and the Rural Development Directorate Plan,” added Mr. Dowling.