Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said that rural Ireland has been a shining light during a difficult economic time, while Taoisech Enda Kenny unveils €30m rural renewal scheme.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championship this morning Minister Coveney said the food production and agriculture sectors have been a huge boost to the economy.
It comes amid warnings from the IFA that there can’t be a two-tier recovery in Ireland.
Clip of Enda Kenny speaking at the Ploughing Championships. Video: Dan Linehan
Minister Coveney said that rural areas should be given priority at Budget time to keep the growth there in step with urban areas.
“We have a sector that’s worth €26bn and growing all based in rural communities around food production and agriculture,” Mr Coveney said. “So actually in many ways rural Ireland and agriculture has been a shining light though a very, very dark economic period for Ireland.
“As the economy grows now we need to make sure they get a dividend from that growth. That they get support from that growth, which they are getting, that they get priority at Budget time.”
Also at the Ploughing Championships the Taoiseach admitted the Government's rural renewal scheme "won't do a lot" on its own.
Enda Kenny and several of his ministers announced the €30m rural renewal scheme at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois this morning.
The Village and Town Renewal Scheme will see funds channelled through local authorities to areas which are still feeling the effects of the recession.
However, Taoiseach Enda Kenny admits the scheme won't solve all of rural Ireland's problems.
“€30m is recognition of potential here, it is not going to sort out all of the problems by any means,” Mr Kenny said.
“I would point this out to you though we are now in a position, as you well know, where our deficit has fallen from €22bn to less than €5bn and we expect to have that eliminated by the end of 2017.”