Local TD Ann Phelan has chaired the inaugural meeting of the Inter-Departmental Group tasked with implementing the report of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA).
Deputy Phelan, who is Minister of State for Rural Affairs, said that her immediate priority had been to get the group up and running without delay. The first meeting involved an initial evaluation of the 35 CEDRA recommendations in order to assign responsibility and to clarify and assess what is already being done.
Work also began on identifying new initiatives to advance the wide-ranging recommendations.
Significant progress was reportedly made on each of these aspects, and it is anticipated that further advancement will be made before the next meeting of the inter-departmental group in September.
“I will continue to chair the CEDRA IDG to oversee and direct progress,” said Deputy Phelan.
“Over the next few meetings, I intend to identify priority recommendations and develop clear implementable actions to assist rural economic development. Judging from the very positive interaction and engagement at today’s meeting, I am confident that this new Group, which includes the key Departments, will work effectively and collaboratively to achieve these aims.”
In an interview about the CEDRA report with Ann Phelan published in last week’s Kilkenny People, I wrote that she was the first female minister of state for the constituency. Former Green Party TD Mary White was of course the first-ever female TD elected in Carlow/Kilkenny and its first-ever minister of state (2010-2011).