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Plans for rural forum to be established

The Rural Dwellers Association said that it is hoped the rural forum would involve a range of groups and would meet regularly with the government

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE SETTING UP of a rural forum will be discussed when the Irish Rural Dwellers Association meets an Oireachtas committee tomorrow.

James Doyle, the National Chairman of the IRDA, told this evening that the members expect to discuss a range of issues when they meet with the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

The Committee will continue its hearings on the impact of flooding on communities around the country tomorrow when it meets with the IRDA.

Rural development

Doyle said they will discuss rural development and flooding, the latter of which he described as a “major problem”. He said the IRDA is concerned about people living in an area prone to flooding being denied insurance or “blacklisted by the companies”.

He said that entire townlands might also find themselves blacklisted even if only one part of the townland tends to get flooded regularly. “I think a study of the whole thing needs to be taken on board,” said Doyle.

They are also seeking the establishment of a rural forum, where “rural people and organisations come together in a unified way to put their problems and proposals before government” a number of times a year.

He said this would enable the forum and government to anticipate issues and respond to them. One big issue, said Doyle, is emigration from rural Ireland. He said the forum “would establish a vision for rural Ireland – how do we want to live; how do we want to develop”.

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There is a view that rural Ireland is all about farming, but this isn’t necessarily the case, said Doyle.

“We would like to create a dialogue with the committee or with the Oireachtas members,” he said, “to explore how best to establish this”.

Cathaoirleach of the Committee Michael McCarthy TD said that the problems people are experiencing with flooding and the impact of extreme weather on communities will form a key part of the Committee’s agenda in coming months.

The meeting will start in Committee Room 4, Leinster House at 2.15pm tomorrow, Tuesday 26 February 2013.

Read: Potholes, loose chippings, floods: Welcome to Ireland’s rural roads>

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