SIR – The following is the text of an open letter I have written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘We see evidence today in this country of employment growing in some of our cities, particularly Dublin but this country needs employment in just more than in cities.
We need to cut poverty fast in rural Ireland before it will just become a wilderness, we need to transform our national economy and prioritise smart rural development policies, investments and institutions.
We need to look at the different pathways of structural and rural transformation, how the different pathways affect rural poverty reduction and social-economic inclusion and above all what the policy makers can do to stimulate and support inclusive transformation. Rural transformation is an employment generator.
Farming, non-farm rural employment, i.e. agricultural services, processing, distribution and logistics, natural resources exploitation, fishing, tourism services and temporary migration all provide job opportunities and can foster economic growth. All pose challenges for the poorest, least-skilled who are often women and disadvantaged groups.
Today, high levels of informal employment are most likely to persist in rural Ireland as it can only be seen as a poor developing economy so creating jobs in rural Ireland is now as important as spurring growth in Dublin.
We must invest in Rural Ireland , technology, infrastructure, social protection, strong institutions. Energy has to be a main priority as it is a huge blocking feature in any development in Rural Ireland.
We, as indigenous peoples in rural Ireland, have the right to full employment as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognised in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Human Rights Law.
I sincerely hope that your Government will immediately set the wheels in motion to create a new Rural Transformation Policy in consultations with the stakeholders, which can only become a most powerful employment generator.’