OECD conference gets underway in West Cavan

Major gathering discusses rural development

A major international conference, which has never been hosted in Ireland before, has just got underway in Ballyconnell.

The event staged at the Slieve Russell sees the gathering of 400 delegates from across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to discuss rural development. Amongst the delegates are Government ministers, senior policy makers, academics and a range of key stakeholders in the rural sector.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys today welcomed delegates to West Cavan where she spoke of the Irish government's rural development blueprint ‘Our Rural Future’ – 2021-2025.

The conference has been billed as a platform to discuss the challenges and opportunities in rural areas with representatives of the 38 OECD member states, and will involve 80 Irish and international guest speakers.

Minister Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural & Community Development addresses the international audience at the OECD Rural Developement Conference at the Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Lorraine Teevan Photo by LORRAINE TEEVAN

“I am absolutely delighted to welcome such a significant number of international representatives, working in rural development, to this wonderful rural setting in County Cavan," Minister Humphreys said.

“The opportunity to host this important conference reflects the ambitious nature of rural development in this country, with Ireland, and the Our Rural Future policy in particular, seen as a fine example of rural policy-making in action. I am very excited about Irish rural stakeholders having a role in shaping international rural development policy priorities.

“Nonetheless, we still have much to learn from our OECD colleagues, and I look forward to meeting our friends from all over the world, to exchange our views and ideas on the shared challenges and opportunities facing rural areas.”

OECD Deputy Secretary-General Yoshiki Takeuchi added: “I hope policy makers grab the opportunities brought by long-term transformations and short-term shocks to work together across policy areas and levels of government to take action for thriving rural places”.

The Conference will take place over three days, and includes an address by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD on Thursday, with a final day cultural tour for delegates, to highlight local rural programmes and tourist attractions.