Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin launched a new Shared Island Project for rural communities this morning (October 18), prior to the Irish Rural Link (IRL) information day at Buswells Hotel.

The Synergy Rural Collaboration Project brings together IRL and Rural Action Northern Ireland to consider current issues facing rural communities, and to collaborate and devise possible solutions to address the issues identified. 

The launch is part of the initial round of the Shared Island Civic Society Fund that took place earlier this year. It offers a total of €37,385 in funding to this particular project.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said: “Through the shared island initiative, which I established as Taoiseach, this government is committed to embracing the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement to build a shared, reconciled future on this island.

“The issues faced by rural communities do not stop at the border. We can be far more effective and far more impactful when we work together, to confront shared challenges and take advantage of opportunities.”

Shared Island Project

A survey to community groups and organisations, as well as focus groups will take place as part of the Shared Island Project.

The project will be delivered through a range of activities from consultative approaches, such as meetings, workshops, focus groups and regional rural surveys through to study visits, sharing practice and thematic working groups. 

Chief executive officer (CEO) of IRL, Seamus Boland said: “We recognise there is a significant amount of untapped innovation potential in rural communities. 

“Our aim, through this project, is to tap into that potential and support the development and progression of projects and programmes on a north, south basis.” 

Following the launch, the Irish Rural Link information day will commence from 10:00a.m to 3:00p.m.

This is an annual event where all members of the Oireachtas are invited to drop by to speak with community groups offering services in rural areas.

This includes services from transport to Meals on Wheels, to community education, domestic violence services and supports to migrants, refugees and people seeking international protection.