Galway Independent Deputy Catherine Connolly will welcome Comhar na nOileán to Leinster House tomorrow (Wed) to address Oireachtas members, and their staff, on the urgent need to recognise the islands as one region for the purposes of LEADER funding.

The deputy says that offshore islands, and their communities are a dynamic resource in a developing Ireland, and make a unique economic, social and cultural contribution to our nation. However, there is currently no dedicated policy or action plan for the islands. Deputy Connolly said that this ongoing policy gap, as well as the decline in the population of offshore islands between the 2011 and 2016 Census, represents a serious challenge to the future of the islands as viable, vibrant communities.

Comhar na nOileán, which is headquartered on Inis Oírr, has a wealth of experience in administering the LEADER programme on offshore islands across Ireland. The funding model under the LEADER programme is tailored to sub regional areas which align with county boundaries. Given the unique nature of the islands, as well as their wide geographical spread, many island communities are understandably very concerned that they will lose out on this much needed rural development funding under the 2023 – 2027 LEADER programme.

Having consistently raised these matters in the Dáil through parliamentary questions and her 2018 private members’ motion, Deputy Connolly now urges all Oireachtas members, and their staff, to do their best to attend this very important presentation by Comhar na nOileán.

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