Laois Partnership says it can be central to 'Our Rural Future' blueprint delivery

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois County Coucil local election map.

Laois Partnership says it has the experience and expertise to be central to developing a Local Master Plan for Laois and help the Government to implement other aspects of the blueprint for rural Ireland published this week.

As one of Ireland’s 49 local development companies (LDCs), Laois Partnership has welcomed the ambition of the Rural Development Strategy called ‘Our Rural Future’ and its potential for Laois. 

Commenting on the launch of ‘Our Rural Future’, Peter O’Neill, Chairman of Laois Partnership Company, said the local development company which already helps business and communities is well placed to help. 

“Local development companies such as ours have been pillars of Rural Development for over 30 years.  Covid-19 and the rollout of the National Broadband Plan provides an opportunity for a reimagining of the potential of Rural areas.

"The Strategy identifies the creation of ‘Local Master Plans’ to meet the long term needs of Rural areas.  Local Development Companies, with our track record in Rural Development and strategic planning, will be central to this process," he said. 

Catherine Cowap, A/CEO of Laois Partnership Company, said the LEADER Programme has been identified as a key measure in this plan. 

"As the providers of LEADER across the Country we welcome the continued commitment to this critical programme and call on the Government to fully support LEADER through maximising EU funding and Exchequer co-funding in the years ahead.

"LEADER can provide the required development capacity and finance needed to deliver measures identified in the strategy. 

"Furthermore, LDCs have been at the forefront of the emerging Smart Village concept which will be a major element of the next round of EU programming and an important element of any successful Rural Development approach.”

“The role of local development companies is interwoven throughout the strategy.  As providers of employment support measures such as the Rural Social Scheme, Tús and Community Employment and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, as well as Outdoor Recreational and Walks measures, our LDCs will be vital partners in ensuring that the ambition of this plan is realised.  We look forward to working positively with Government in this endeavour," she said. 

Laois Partnership Company says it is a member of the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) which has acknowledged the publication of the Government’s Rural Development Strategy – ‘Our Rural Future’.