Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said a new task force launched in Kerry could become a model for all of rural Ireland.
The ireland South MEP was speaking at the launch of the Interagency Taskforce for the Uíbh Ráthach Gaeltacht on Monday.
The new group, formed with the help of Údarás na Gaeltachta, will seek to draw people from all sectors together to create a single, cohesive body that will be dedicated to promoting and rejuvenating the area.
“I want to welcome this initiative and congratulate all those involved. This is exactly the kind of drive, focus and community spirit that rural Ireland needs now more than ever,” she said.
“It is particularly important for smaller, more isolated communities, long abandoned by successive governments, to cooperate at this level.
“What is particularly exciting about this project is that if it works in Uíbh Ráthach, and going by the energy and determination on display at the launch there is no reason it wont, this group could act as a model for rural communities right across Ireland.
“However, what groups like this need to achieve their potential is support from the Government. That support must come in the form of funding, infrastructure and services; we need a real commitment, words and photo opportunities are not enough.
“From an EU perspective there are several funding strands available to cooperative groups and social enterprises and i will be more than happy to work with Údarás na Gaeltachta and the new task force to see if we can avail of any of those.
“Uíbh Ráthach, and the countless communities like it around Ireland, have so much to offer; and not just to visitors but to the young people from those areas who are leaving in their droves. If we can tap into the cultural, historical, economic and environmental potential of places like Uíbh Ráthach we can reinvigorate rural Ireland.”