COMHARCHUMANN OILEÁN ÁRAINN MHÓIR TEO LAUNCHES 5 YEAR STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR ARRANMORE ISLAND

Comharchumann Oileán Árainn Mhóir Teo presented its five-year strategic development plan for Arranmore Island on Friday 12th September 2008. The plan was launched by Liam Ó Cuinneagáin, Chairman, Údarás na Gaeltachta in the Arranmore Enterprise Centre at 1:15pm.
The island development plan, which was compiled by planning and development consultants Canavan Associates Ltd., aims to tackle some of the issues highlighted in the earlier socio-economic survey of the island community in 2006. This new plan updates the 1994 – 1999 island development plan, also prepared by Canavan Associates, from which many worthwhile community initiatives on the island got their start. The plan was generously supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta.

The 2008 plan looks at changes on the island since the last development plan, what has been achieved, the challenges facing the island, and opportunities for future development. Delivering the Plan effectively will require a partnership approach among members of the island community, An Comharchumann and supporting agencies. It is essential that all these partners share the plan's vision and communicate with one another to achieve the actions set out.

For Further Information Contact:
Nóirín Uí Mhaoldomhnaigh/Seán Mac Eachmharcaigh
Foireann Bainistíochta an Phlean
Comharchumann Oileán Árainn Mhóir Teo

074 9520533


RTE NEWS COVERAGE OF LAUNCH
www.rte.ie/news/2008/0912/arranmore.html

Arranmore development plan launched

Eileen Magnier
The people of Arranmore Island off the coast of Donegal have launched a new development plan for the island.

Residents of Ireland's second most populated island have warned that unless co-ordinated action is taken at all levels then Arranmore's future looks very much like its past.

The plan highlights the positive assets of the island including its natural beauty and the progress made in areas like waste management.

However, it also highlights a number of serious problems including its declining population, high unemployment and a decline in the Irish language.

There has been a steady fall in the population which now stands at 522 with most young people leaving as soon as they can for further education and better job opportunities.

A quarter of islanders are unemployed and there is 56% male unemployment. Traditional fishing and agriculture have declined significantly. The age profile of islanders is increasing and there is a high dependency on social welfare and other state supports.

The level of fluency in the Irish language has dropped to 55% but the island's Co-op says there is great interest in the community in making Irish the main language of the island once again and they hope to employ an Irish officer to progress that.

The plan launched today is described as a road-map for the future of the island which islanders themselves want to be part of implementing but they say they also need State support to make the plan a reality.

They have identified nine areas to be addressed including the development of tourism and renewable energy projects and support for fishing and agriculture.

Islanders say support is needed from State agencies to achieve their plan and Údaras na Gaeltachta Chairman Liam O'Cuinneagáin said he is optimistic the government will give its support.

He said it is particularly important at times like this that we focus on creating unemployment and encouraging entrepreneurship.