THE Irish Rural Dwellers Association (IRDA), the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) have joined forces to, as they describe "maintain and support rural communities in Kerry and beyond".
According to James Doyle, chairman of the Kerry Irish Rural Dwellers Association, the idea behind the alliance is to establish a forum to enter into dialogue with Government Departments on rural issues. They also hope to develop an employment strategy.
"The objective of this new alliance is to work closely with our elected representatives; its common purpose is to make rural Ireland a place where its residents can continue to live comfortably, while also contributing substantially to the economy," Mr Doyle told The Kerryman this week.
The IRDA, IFA and GAA are also in the process of creating a 'Rural Coalition'.
"The Rural Coalition's aim is to address the needs, aspirations and the on-going welfare of those who wish to live, work and raise their families in the countryside," Mr Doyle added. "Under an independent chairperson, the coalition would be tasked to draw up a realistic vision for the development of rural Ireland and thus give rural people a strong voice."
According to Mr Doyle, the primary challenge for a Rural Coalition is to arrest rural decline and rural depopulation, which is, the IRDA feel, is partially down to poor Government policy making.
To this end, the IRDA, IFA and GAA will launch a joint study recently undertaken entitled ' The Rural Challenge: Empowering Rural Communities to Achieve Growth and Sustainability' on Monday, April 30, at 4pm in Institute of Technology, Tralee.
Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh will launch the study and public representatives, statutory bodies, business and community leaders from across Kerry are expected to attend. IRDA organisers are also inviting members of the public along, or anybody with an interest in the development of rural Ireland.