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The policy landscape for remote working and rural development in Northern Ireland

Posted On: 26 Apr 2023

Northern Ireland


Rural Community Network (RCN) commissioned a report on The policy landscape for remote working and rural development in Northern Ireland which drew upon international policy landscapes and sought perspectives from policy makers and stakeholders from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The research was undertaken by Dr Anthony Soares from the Centre for Cross Border Studies, and the report was presented at an online event involving Kate Clifford (Director of Rural Community Network), Gareth Evans from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and Dr Soares. 

Kate Clifford said: “Special thanks must also go to Anthony Soares of the Centre for Cross Border Studies who undertook the research on our behalf and to Nigel McKinney who had the vision to bring about this research.

“Since 2018 we have been engaged with the 5G New Thinking Project, funded through the UK’s Department of Culture Media and Sports. 5G New Thinking was designed to empower rural communities to take control of their connectivity. The project sought to provide these communities with the practical tools, services, support, and guidance they needed to consider building and operating their own communications networks. The project brought together a consortium of organisations from across the public, private and academic sectors, working closely with communities in the Orkney Islands, the Borderlands, and Northern Ireland.

“Rural areas cannot afford to be left behind as the world moves online. Rural areas must be supported and encouraged to exploit digital opportunities. We are delighted that the new Rural Development Framework for NI makes mention of the opportunity for remote working.”

RCN recognises that rural dwellers face a number of different challenges impacting on the quality of people’s lives and the sustainability of rural communities. These include the rationalisation and centralisation of local and central government services, housing, planning, fuel and child poverty, mental health, transport, and education.