The Rural Network For Northern Ireland 

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The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) recently awarded the contract to the Rural Development Council (RDC) for the provision of support services to the Rural Network under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP).

The Rural Network forms part of the RDP 2014–2020, and is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and DARD.

Welcoming the award of the contract to the RDC, Minister Michelle O’Neill said: "The Rural Network is a vital cog in the delivery of the 2014-2020 RDP and I welcome the awarding of the contract for support services to the RDC.

"The Network will bring together all those with an interest in rural development and keep them up to date with funding opportunities, opening of schemes and networking events. It will also help represent the views of rural stakeholders to public authorities. The Network Support Unit will help facilitate communications, training, innovation and co-operation for rural stakeholders.

"I would encourage stakeholders to sign up to the Rural Network, anyone wishing to be more involved in Rural Development is invited to join, so we would welcome farmers, rural dwellers, rural businesses, researchers and environmentalists."

For those wishing to join the Rural Network, more information can be found on the DARD website and information and resources relating to RDP can be found on the dedicated Rural Network website -


Background -

Established as part of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, the Rural Network for Northern Ireland was designed to help and support the implementation and delivery of the programme across all axes.

It did this by:-

  • Identifying and sharing good practice
  • Exhanging information
  • Providing training and support
  • Supporting Local Action Groups to promote and assist the development of co-operation projects
  • Developing online communication tools and networking opportunities

For more information on the Rural Network please download our leaflet

In support of sharing information, lessons learned and experiences gained in the delivery of rural development programmes both at home and away, the Rural Network for Northern Ireland has developed: -

In addition it holds and hosts Network events and provides updates and newsletters.

The Rural Network for Northern Ireland was one of four regional rural networks established as part of the UK National Rural Network.  Rural Networks were also established in Scotland, England and Wales to assist in the implementation of those regions rural development programmes.  

The Rural Network for Northern Ireland also established links with the Ireland National Rural Network in the Republic of Ireland.

The Rural Network for Northern Ireland was managed by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (RDC) through the Agri Rural Forum as part of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.