SHERKIN Island was the location last Saturday for the launch of a new process aimed at creating a policy for the future development of Ireland’s island communities.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Minister of State for the Islands Seán Kyne TD announced that it would be the first cross-government policy developed for the islands in 23 years.
It aims to set out a ‘roadmap’ for the long-term sustainability and development of our offshore communities.
The voices and views of islanders will be central to the process, and consultation workshops are to be held with island communities over the next three months, allowing local groups and individuals to have a direct input into how the policy is developed.
‘Sustainable, vibrant communities are the bedrock of our islands, and the new policy will seek to improve the quality of life of these communities, taking into account the unique context of each island,’ a statement, issued by the government, said. ‘As part of the policy, a system of reporting and review will be developed to promote accountability.’
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that while we have seen ‘significant capital investment’ on the islands in recent years, we now need this consultation to ensure 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 added. ‘We now need to hear from our island communities on what enterprise, education and unique supports they need.’
Minister of State Seán Kyne said that over the past 20 years, over €100m 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,’ he said.