By Stephen Cadogan
Clare’s 10-year rural plan targets 4,000 extra jobs
Clare may get a version of the Uber Technologies shared car transportation used in over 600 cities, as part of the county’s rural development strategy.
A type of ‘Rural Uber’ community car pooling is included in a 10-year blueprint which targets creation of 4,000 jobs in community-led social enterprises, supported by Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office Clare, the Office of the Action Plan for Jobs, the LEADER rural development programme, and the rural and community support unit of Clare County Council.
Creation of five local digital hubs over the next 18 months to enable people to work and carry out business using high speed broadband from their local towns, and to facilitate e-working, small-scale training, and conferencing, is part of the Co Clare strategy.
The strategy also targets development of community-run centres to provide public services such as GP, postal, social protection, health, transport, advice and information from a single building.
Community bus services are also earmarked.
Clare County Council will establish four Rural Community Development Officers later this year as part of the strategy.
Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring , said the Clare strategy is an example of Government Departments, local authorities and community networks following the same strategic path of rural development.
Clare Rural Development Forum Pat Dowling chairman Pat Dowling, who is also Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said the strategy targets a reversal of population declines of up to 35% in some Co Clare rural areas.
“Our strategy aims to deliver jobs, multi-service centres, co-operating towns and parishes, environmental programmes, age-friendly communities, vibrant rural ways of life, and a range of infrastructure,” he stated.
“Depopulated areas lost much of their agricultural and retail employment, and gained few jobs in the emerging sectors.
“Primary school and GP service closures and threats of closure have followed, as public services contracted”.
Clare has become the first county to launch a rural development strategy following the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development.