RESEARCH reveals that rural communities want a greater focus on job creation.
This was revealed at the launch of the Macra na Feirme and Calor 2015 ‘Know your Neighbour Weekend’ campaign.
The survey showed that 71% of people living in rural Ireland feel that stronger government policies are needed to promote job growth in rural communities.
Presented with 20 issues, such as unemployment, access to medical services, road quality, security and anti-social behaviour, unemployment was one of the issues of biggest concern, with 18 per cent of those surveyed saying that unemployment is the biggest issue facing communities at present.
Examined regionally; 16 per cent of Dubliners cite unemployment as an issue of concern, rising to 20 per cent for rest of Leinster, 21 per cent for people living in Connaught-Ulster and 18 per cent in Munster. However security and anti-social behaviour is also a significant issue for those living in Dublin, with 25 per cent – one in four – saying these issues are of concern to them.
Access to certain services is also an issue concerning rural communities, with 35 per cent of rural dwellers reporting that they have difficulty accessing broadband services, while only 5 per cent of urban dwellers cite this as an issue. Access to public transport (54 per cent) and hospitals (51 per cent) are also major issues in rural Ireland, with over half of those surveyed indicating difficulty.
Other infrastructural issues of concern in rural Ireland include the quality of roads (13 per cent) and access to hospitals and medical services (10 per cent).
Macra national president Seán Finan said: ‘Those living in isolated parts of the country with limited access to services rely on their closest neighbours for support, security and friendship.
‘The aim of “Know Your Neighbour Weekend” is to provide an opportunity during the summer to get to know these neighbours and establish a strong support network. I am encouraging every community, rural or urban, to get involved.’