Interregional study visit in Ireland within the Coop4RURALGov project

In the period of 18th to 19th of June 2024, a partner’s meeting and a study visit focused on good practices for developing sustainable policies, programmes and initiatives in sparsely populated rural, coastal and mountainous areas took place in Galway, Ireland, under the project Coop4RURALGov, funded by Interreg Europe 2021-2027 Programme.

On the first working day, the meeting started with a welcome speech by the County Mayor of Galway and representatives from the Galway County Council. A review was carried out by the local strategic planner of the Local Economic Plan and Situational Study.

The project partners made a Guided Tour of Portumna Workhouse, which tells the story of the workhouse poor which operated in Ireland for a period of some 80 years. During this visit, outdoor recreation and rural regeneration projects were considered.

A little later the participants visited BIA Innovator Campus, which is a step-change project that aims to transform the food entrepreneurship landscape in the West of Ireland.  It addresses a seismic need for regional food workspace infrastructure and support services.

The next working day started with meeting the volunteers involved in this initiative, in Letterfrack village, Connemara, Ireland. The group took a holistic approach to the environmental sustainability of the local community through a number of initiatives.

A long-established group – Letterfrack Tidy Towns, whose main objective is enhancing the village of Letterfrack by working with other groups and public bodies to provide appropriate small-scale infrastructure in the village and to make it attractive to visitors and locals alike, was introduced.  In this context, a talk on Initiatives and Programmes was held.

The Dúlra Project was reviewed. Dúlra project, which translates as “Nature” in Irish, aims to address the serious issue of controlling the spread of Rhododendron ponticum in the ecologically sensitive areas along the Mayo and Galway border.

During a short walk along the greenway, a discussion from FORUM Connemara was held.  This is a partner company that delivers several programmes on behalf of government departments and other agencies including the Rural Development Programme (LEADER) and Youth and Adolescent Support Programme.

A Broadband Officer, at Galway County Council, presented a project for the expansion of broadband connection points in Ireland. A presentation was also given by the Assistant Principal, of Community and Voluntary Supports and Programmes Unit, on the topic “Department of Rural & Community Development”.  It was focused on Policy concerning the Public Participation Network.