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'Slow tourism' can sustain rural areas

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Celebrating the opening to the public of the Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan section of the Waterford Greenway is Jacqui de Paor with her daughter Grainne and son Seán.

Celebrating the opening to the public of the Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan section of the Waterford Greenway is Jacqui de Paor with her daughter Grainne and son Seán.

Celebrating the opening to the public of the Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan section of the Waterford Greenway is Jacqui de Paor with her daughter Grainne and son Seán.

The future of jobs in rural Ireland will centre on working in the home, the Northern and Western Regional Assembly chief has said.

According to David Minton, companies will not be landing into any European counties to employ 200 or 300 people, instead employers will be looking for entrepreneurs.

"The face of jobs will change drastically in the coming years. It will be about employing people in their homes to do jobs working with teams internationally," he said.

Mr Minton believes this type of employment will add vibrancy to rural Ireland but that communities must be ready for the challenge.

"We need to prepare our communities with the technology but we also need to be responsive in our education systems to make sure that we are encouraging people into third level into Leaving Cert and accessing the maths, science, technology areas so that we are ready for what lies ahead," he said.

Mr Minton believes renewable energy projects and "slow tourism" are also key to sustaining rural regions.

"There is loads of potential for slow tourism - walking, cycling, kayaking and canoeing - in the midland, western and border catchments. But we need to optimise that potential now and not market individual counties or cities," he said.

"In the west we have a marine economy that is growing faster than our national GDP, this is a sector that we also need to be tailoring in order to sustain populations."

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