Irish Rural Link Annual Conference 2021: 24th June 2021

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Invitation to Irish Rural Link Annual Conference 2021 In partnership with Rural Action NI

This timely conference will explore funding opportunities available to community and voluntary organisations on both sides of the Border as well as new funding for Cross Border collaborative projects through the All Island fund, International Fund for Ireland and the new PEACE Plus Programme. The conference will also look at different themes and ideas for collaborative projects to support development of rural communities on both side of the border and adapt to changes brought about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit.



10.00am       Conference opened by Mr. Tom Lavin Chairman IRL

10.10am   Overview – What are the Opportunities?

Guest Speakers include;

  • Gina McIntyre – CEO SEUPB
  • Paddy Harte –  Chairperson (IFI) International Fund for Ireland


Questions & Answers Session

11.00am            Breakout Session 1  – Community Development Principles & Building Capacity

  1. Community Engagement and Empowerment – Seamus Boland IRL– This session will discuss how carry out meaningful and inclusive engagement with communities and empower them to take the lead in developing their local community.
  2. Engaging your people and Succession planning – Carol Lambe – This session will look at a Best Practice Example Monaghan County Council’s Nurturing Communities Programme in reaching out to communities who are struggling, working with them through the process of developing a community development plan, helping them to develop their project ideas along the way.
  3. Challenges and Problem Solving – Anthony Saores, Centre for Cross Border Studies – This session will look at current Cross Border collaboration taking place, some of the challenges that have arisen as a result of COVID-19 and Brexit.  A discussion on possible solutions to these challenges.


Workshops in Breakout Session 2 will run twice to allow participants attend 2 sessions.   Each workshop will be facilitated with a short presentation on the topic.

11.40am           Breakout Session 2A –

Room 1: Health & Wellbeing – Institute of Public Health This workshop will present ideas for cross border projects and Health and Wellbeing in rural communities and how best to address the challenges that came to the fore during COVID-19.

Room 2: Environment/Biodiversity & Climate Change – Aidan Campbell, RCN – There was a renewed appreciation of the environment and nature during Covid-19 restrictions.  This workshop will look at how this can be maintained and how communities can lead the way in climate change and protecting local biodiversity.

Room 3: Rural Tourism –  Speaker TBA The tourism sector has been the hardest hit sector during Covid-19.  This session will explore how to build a more robust and sustainable industry and how rural communities benefit from the tourism sector.

Room 4: Social Enterprise Development – Derek Browne This session will look at how social enterprise is a key contributor to rural development and social inclusion and the opportunities for greater collaboration in developing social enterprise in communities.

Room 5: Smart Villages- Pat Kennedy (Econceptz) This session will look at how rural communities can be revitalised through digital and social innovation.  It will look at the use of ICT for the delivery of essential services for rural communities.

12.10pm           BREAK (10 mins)

12.20pm           Breakout Session 2B

  • Health & Wellbeing – Institute of Public Health
  • Environment/Biodiversity & Climate Change – Aidan Campbell
  • Rural Tourism –  TBA
  • Social Enterprise Development – Derek Browne
  • Smart Villages- Pat Kennedy (Econceptz)

1pm  Feedback Session and Plenary

1.30pm Conference end




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