ONeill calls on women to help shape local rural development

11 December 2014

Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA, has urged women living and working in rural areas to get involved and help implement a £70m Rural Development initiative being rolled out across the north of Ireland as part of the 2014-20 Rural Development Programme.

ONeill calls on women to help shape local rural development

Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA, is calling on women to get involved in rural development through the Local Actions Groups initiative.

As membership of the Local Actions Groups (LAGs) nears almost 850 individuals Minister O’Neill has highlighted the need for women to play their part in creating and directing positive change in their local rural areas.

Minister O’Neill said: "Local Action Groups offer an invaluable opportunity for local people to have their say in the design and delivery of local solutions to local needs.

"However, for Local Action Groups to be truly effective they require as many rural organisations, individuals, businesses and groups as possible to get involved and drive them forward.

“There is a real need for involvement from a number of under-represented sectors and as a rural woman myself I would particularly encourage as many women as possible to get involved and help shape positive change in their local rural areas.”

Majella Murphy, Project Co-Ordinator of NIRWN (NI Rural Women's Network), said: “This is a very exciting time for Rural Development and I welcome this call from Minister Michelle O’Neill.

“Local Action Groups are an excellent opportunity for women living and working in our rural areas to put their wealth of skills and knowledge to good use in ensuring much needed positive changes become a reality for our rural communities. We call on rural organisations to take positive action to ensure that women are encouraged and supported to respond to the Minister’s call.

“Each LAG will be as effective as the sum of its members and I am confident that the contribution of women will be invaluable in their areas."

Teresa Canavan, Chief Executive of the Rural Development Council, speaking on behalf of the Rural Network for NI, said: “The power of LAGs will be the diversity of local input. This contribution will make the difference in each rural community as people get involved and help prioritise and target the schemes that will reduce poverty, improve employment opportunities and help rural areas to flourish and survive.

“LAGs will offer local people a real chance to engage in the development of their local area and receive information on the programme.

“Importantly, it also allows local people to appoint social partner representation to a LAG Board that will take responsibility for the delivery of the programme in agreed local areas.”