In the weeks ahead, DARD will be consulting the public on proposals for legislation that will support the equitable treatment of rural dwellers.
The Bill if passed will make it a requirement for all government departments and local councils to consider the needs of rural dwellers and the impact on rural communities in the development and delivery of policy and public services.
Commenting on the issue of rural proofing UFU Rural Affairs Chair Freda Magill said: “Under DARD’s ‘Rural White Paper Action Plan’, which was agreed and launched by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2012, departments in Stormont made a voluntary commitment to carry out rural proofing of their policies.
“However, from our perspective this only seems to be happening on the odd occasion. There is a lot more work to be done on this issue, but we welcome the department’s commitment to make rural proofing work for the rural dwellers in Northern Ireland.
“Their engagement with stakeholders will help shape the directions to follow and we hope to continue to work with the department as this process develops and we would encourage members to attend so that their views can be fed into the consultation process.”
DARD has arranged to host a series of public meetings to hear your views. The times and locations are:
Thursday 19 February, 7pm–9pm -Old Town Hall, Banbridge, Co. Down
Friday 20 February, 11.30am–1.30pm - Garvagh Community Building, Garvagh, Wednesday
25 February, 2pm–4pm - CAFRE Loughry College, Cookstown
Thursday 26 February, 7pm–9pm -CAFRE Greenmount College
Monday 2 March, 11am–1pm - CAFRE, Enniskillen Campus
Tuesday 3 March, 7pm–9pm - Old Court House, Markethill
Wednesday 4 March, 10am–noon - The Pavilion, Stormont Estate, Belfast
Thursday 5 March, 2pm–4pm -Omagh Community Forum, Omagh
Friday 6 March, 2pm–4pm - Glenshane House, Dungiven
To register to attend, or for more information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 028 9052 4106.