The Government is aiming to put together a new national policy for the development of the islands around Ireland.
The Tánaiste launched a public consultation process on what the policy should look like this afternoon.
It will be the first new cross-departmental policy for the islands in over two decades and the Government said it will “set a roadmap for the long-term sustainability and development of our offshore communities.”
Speaking at the launch on Sherkin Island off County Cork this afternoon, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the process will ensure island communities are “supported in a sustainable way into the future.”
“Our islands are a unique asset and there are many different stories of new industry and tourism that have been successfully developed on some islands,” he said.
“We now need to hear from our island communities on what enterprise, education and unique supports they need.”
The new policy will address things like housing, energy, employment, communications and transport.
The process involves an open call for submissions as well as engagement with island communities through consultation workshops.
The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Seán Kyne said: “Over the past 20 years, over €100 million has been invested by the state in capital infrastructure on the islands aimed at implementing the recommendations contained in the last Inter-Departmental Islands Committee.
“This new process presents both Government and island communities with an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved and to develop plans for a sustainable future over the years ahead.”
The policy will recognise that “sustainable, vibrant communities” are the bedrock of the islands and will seek to improve the quality of life of the communities living there, taking into account the unique context of each island.