NINE-time All-Star Pat Spillane has been tasked with helping to regenerate rural Ireland following his appointment as Chairman of the newly formed Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan made the announcement this week, revealing that the Templenoe man would lead the new body which aims to empower local government to drive economic development and create jobs at a local level. The body will deal specifically with the non farming aspects of economic development in rural areas using extensive public consultation as its indicator.
In appointing the father of three, the minister said he was the ideal candidate as has been a leader both on the sporting field and as a school principal in St Gobán's College, Bantry.
Mr Spillane said the commission would begin by hosting 17 public meetings across the country, starting in January, and would prepare a report on the findings within 12 months on how best to channel funding and resources between 2013 and 2025.
"Too much of the policy in Ireland is created at central Government level and it doesn't take into account, for example, rural communities in Ireland where the issues and the concerns are different," Mr Spillane said.