A public consultation process has commenced around the development of a new six-year plan that will guide the future economic and community development of County Clare.
The high-level goals of the new Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2023-2029 are informed by the Socio-Economic Statement, which is the subject of a series of public information sessions throughout the county over the coming weeks.
This plan will consider the future development of Clare from both a community perspective and an economic perspective. In terms of local community development, the LECP aims to meet the needs of individuals, groups, and organisations by developing community infrastructure, programmes and services. From an economic perspective the LECP will provide a framework to guide local economic growth and stability in specific geographical areas through retaining and attracting new business, creating employment, and supporting people to start their own businesses and social enterprises.
The development of a new LECP is being overseen by the Clare Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), which has responsibility for local development and community-related funding in County Clare. The LCDC comprises 9 members from local government and agencies and 10 members from local development and community interests across Clare. The economic perspective of the LECP will be guided by Clare County Council’s Economic Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) which comprises 7 elected members and 6 members from various sectoral interests.
The first of four public consultations will take place on:
• Monday June 12th in the Shannon Municipal District Office,
• Tuesday June 13th at the Ennis MD Office in Drumbiggle,
• Wednesday June 14th at the Killaloe MD Office in Scarriff,
• Thursday June 15th at the Kilrush MD offices in Kilrush and Ennistymon (all 5pm to 8pm).
Additional engagement with the business community will also take place.
Cllr. Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, highlighted the importance for local communities having a plan for their future development that includes strategies for promoting economic growth, creating jobs, making communities more resilient and sustainable, and improving the quality of life for residents.
He continued, “The public consultation process seeks to inform stakeholders on a number of key issues including what the LECP is and how it affects them, what’s involved in the process, how it will be planned and delivered, the Socio-Economic position of the county at present, and the proposed goals and objectives of the plan.”
“The people of Clare know their respective communities best of all so their participation is vital for decision-making as such engagement has proven to produce better policies,” added Cllr. O’Brien.
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said input from all stakeholders who have a keen interest in developing a vision for Clare and how it can be achieved will be a valuable resource in shaping the aims, objectives and principles of the LECP.
Mr. Dowling added that the last LECP has had a “significant and positive impact on Clare”, completing dozens of actions with the help of communities across the county.
“The previous plan contained strategic actions which have been pursued with considerable success in the intervening six years, including developing existing enterprise centres and incubation space for micro-enterprises across Clare, protecting sites of built heritage and historic importance to the benefit of communities, implementing a pro-active tourism strategy, supporting sustainable transport initiatives, developing a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, and supporting place-making initiatives that enhance the county’s towns, villages and rural communities,” he stated.
Mr. Dowling added, “This period of public consultation provides an excellent opportunity for the people of Clare to share their thoughts and to help shape the future of our county. It is particularly important that stakeholders looking to promote their area or to develop a project for their community participate in guiding the direction of this plan.”
Jason Murphy, Acting Director of Services, Rural Development, Clare County Council, said the Socio-Economic Statement outlines what the process of developing a new Local Economic and Community Plan is about.
He explained, “Unlike a spatial plan which sets out where new infrastructure such as roads, houses and offices are built, the LECP seeks to attract funding to develop community and economic infrastructure and facilities such as business support hubs, training centres, community centres, play areas, parks, community gardens and sports facilities.”
“The LECP Socio -economic Statement and High-Level Goals aims to encourage the people of Clare to start the conversation and give us their insights on topics that affect everyone who lives and works in Clare and also those who visit the county,” stated Mr. Murphy. “We want to make it an even better place in which to live, work and visit by creating new opportunities, improving connectivity and access, between rural and urban areas, and by protecting and enhancing services in the community.”
Six High-Level Goals are set out in the Socio-Economic Statement:
- A County that priorities the physical, mental and social well-being of all citizens, where socio economic rights are realised, making it a healthy place to live work grow and learn;
- A County which supports and promotes education facilitated via primary, secondary, higher and further education that provides opportunities for life-long learning, upskilling and personal development;
- Clare will have a Vibrant Retail, Industry, Agriculture, Marine and Tourism and Culture sector that will offer employment and recreational opportunities for all;
- Economic, cultural and social vibrancy in Clare will be enhanced so its people can live, work, invest and learn;
- A County with strong and balanced urban and rural areas, where people can reach their potential, leading and supporting climate change transition to create empowered resilient and sustainable communities and business; and
- Clare will have a diverse, sustainable and innovative local economy to further enhance enterprise and employment opportunities.
Submissions or observations can be made online via www.yoursay.clarecoco.ie, by email to email@example.com or in writing to LECP, Rural Development, Clare County Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare, V95 DXP2. All submissions received on or before the consultation period deadline of 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 23rd June will be reviewed and will influence the actions to be taken in the initial 2-year implementation plan and future iterations over the next six years.
The Socio-Economic Statement and details of the Local Economic and Community Plan 2023 – 2029 are available at www.clarecoco.ie.