Focus Rightly on Youth and Remote Working
Macra na Feirme today welcomed the focus on remote working as the future of employment in rural Ireland published in the Government’s blueprint to transform rural Ireland ‘Our Rural Future’. Young people living in Rural Ireland had to abruptly adjust to the ‘new normal’ of working from home without the essential amenities that are often taken for granted.
“As plans are put in place to return to offices, the excuse of poor broadband speed and other distractions is less likely to be tolerated and so the acceleration of the National Broadband Plan is a must,” said Macra na Feirme National President Thomas Duffy.
Covid-19 has brought to light both the advantages and disadvantages of living and working in rural Ireland and this new blueprint has set out to tackle the challenges to make it an even more attractive place to live and work. Macra na Feirme has welcomed the commitment for the creation of a Rural Youth Assembly to best gather and represent the views of young people who are currently living or who wish to live in rural Ireland.
Of the plan’s commitment to place greater emphasis on rural young people, Rural Youth Chairman Shane Quigley exclaimed, “A Rural Youth Assembly is essential. The focus must be on those young adults and what the Government are asking to work and live rurally in this plan. We have to ensure that young people are able to find employment and raise their families in the rural communities where they live. This plan needs to ensure that anyone can live, work and play in rural Ireland”.
The strategy highlighted initiatives such as Make the Moove run by Macra na Feirme members, a service dedicated to improving the mental health of farmers in Tipperary, and the importance of developing such initiative’s awareness and reach. “Macra na Feirme welcome the inclusion of Make the Moove ‘Our Rural Future’ and look forward to working with government departments, HSE and others in developing this initiative nationally,” said National President Thomas Duffy.
Macra also welcomes the recognition that succession and gender disparity in agriculture are acutely linked. Many ambitious targets are set for agriculture’s transition to a low emissions industry; however, these challenges will be difficult to overcome unless land mobility as highlighted is addressed. Macra na Feirme established a pilot initiative some six years ago known as The Land Mobility Service which is evolving to become a nationwide service to support generational renewal.
“In the next CAP, young farmers need to see at least 4% of all direct payments directed towards contributing to generational renewal. It cannot be all down to EU funding however, national contribution to schemes must be maximised to make this green transition,” said Shane Fitzgerald Agricultural Affairs Chair.
‘Our Rural Future’ also emphasises the need to build leadership in young people in their communities, which Macra na Feirme has been a leader in for over 75 years. The role of voluntary organisations in building for the future is key.
“The pandemic has hit all voluntary organisations hard, but with state commitment, we can lead in rebuilding a fairer more equitable rural Ireland,” stated President Duffy.