Rural Affairs

Rural Ireland is famed for its beauty, peacefulness, access to nature, communities, natural and historical heritage, and more. For these reasons and more, people often desire to live in rural Ireland to enhance their quality of life, whether their roots are there or not. Life in rural Ireland presents opportunities not available elsewhere.

Over the years, rural areas have faced many challenges, including depopulation, inadequate infrastructure, and declining levels of access to public services. There are, however opportunities facing rural Ireland that can – and must – be harnessed to realise sustainable growth across rural Ireland and to ensure residents of rural Ireland can avail of a high quality of life despite the threats posed by climate change and biodiversity loss.

Our vision of rural Ireland is that of a network of thriving and sustainable communities that exist in harmony with local natural environments and that support the well-being and prosperity of residents. Rural Ireland must remain a place where current and future generations can live, work, and thrive. We believe that this vision can be best achieved through a commitment to Green Party values, including:

  1. Environmental Responsibility: We will prioritise the protection, regeneration and conservation of rural Ireland's natural resources.
  2. Economic Sustainability: We will foster growth of local economies that is sustainable in the long term through the development of sustainable industries, including agriculture, and by supporting small businesses, cooperatives and farmers markets.
  3. Just Transition: We believe in supporting rural communities and residents in the transition to more sustainable practices in line with climate action. This includes supporting the development of alternative income streams and new economic opportunities for those most impacted.
  4. Social Justice: We will work to reduce inequalities in rural communities by improving access to community healthcare, secular education, employment opportunities, and other key public services such as banking and public transport.
  5. Community Empowerment: We will encourage the participation and involvement of local people in decision-making processes, as well as support the development of community-led initiatives that reflect the needs and values of rural Ireland.
Key policy points

Rolling out broadband connectivity to all rural areas.

Improving access to rural healthcare, education, sustainable housing, and postal and banking services.

Mitigating rural climate change impacts such as coastal erosion, as well as loss of farmlands due to flooding.

Enhancing rural public transport services and infrastructure, including late evening bus services to/from towns, better coordination of bus and train timetables, selling of leap cards in post offices, implementation of the “Every Village, Every Hour” model.

Enhancing rural active travel infrastructure such as safe school routes.

Significantly increasing the number of electric-vehicle charging points in rural villages and towns.

Building on the success of the ACRES scheme in opening up alternative income streams to farmers, such as supporting the establishment of small-scale biodigesters on farms.

Supporting and growing the many opportunities for rural communities and landowners to generate new income streams from micro-generation in wind, solar, geothermal and hydro-electric generation.

Enhancing remote-working rights.

Prioritising nature-based solutions to flood management.

Protecting and rehabilitating peatlands.

Policy revised: September 2023

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15

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