Over the years much research has been carried out on poverty and social inclusion in rural Ireland. Academics, researchers, Government agencies and organisations working in the Community and Voluntary Sector have published vast amounts of reports on poverty and marginalised and vulnerable groups living in rural areas. Many of the issues people living in rural areas identified in these reports in terms of poverty and social exclusion are still being felt today.
The progress made in rural areas during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ years was eroded as a result of the recession and austerity budgets. As Ireland begins to exit from recession, the gap between urban and rural areas has widened, with rural areas continuing to lag behind in terms of employment opportunities and public services. This means that people living in rural areas, especially vulnerable and marginalised group are being excluded from participating in society.
The aim of this booklet is to raise awareness and to highlight that poverty and social exclusion are not just urban issues butare very much evident in rural communities in Ireland. It looks at how poverty and social exclusion can be exacerbated as a result of living in a rural area.
Chapter 1– examines the most up to date data on poverty and deprivation for rural areas. It looks at the causes of poverty and the groups that are most affected.
Chapter 2- looks at Farm Poverty and the impact the recession has had on farm incomes. Agriculture still remains one of the main industries in rural Ireland but incomes have been severely impacted on since the recession.
Chapter 3- considers the impact of fuel poverty on people in rural areas. It can cost more to heat a house in rural Ireland, especially older houses, due to the type of housing people live in. Fuel poverty is no longer associated with people who are at-risk of poverty, with people who are not at-risk of poverty reporting that they are unable to adequately heat their home. Women in rural areas face the same commonalities as their urban counterparts. However, their access to services and employment, education and training opportunities are hindered by the barriers that living in a rural area bring.
Chapter 4- looks at what barriers face women in rural areas and the opportunities available to them.
Chapter 5- examines social exclusion in rural Ireland. It looks at rural isolation and the impact this has on mental health and how the lack of services can exacerbate isolation. It highlights some of the different groups of people who are affected by social exclusion and some of the services that are available to help alleviate social exclusion and isolation.
Chapter 6- examines what policies and strategies are in place to eradicate poverty and social exclusion and for the development of rural areas.
Reference list: Irish Rural Link. 2016. Retrieved from http://www.irishrurallink.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Poverty-and-Social-Inclusion-The-Case-for-Rural-Ireland.pdf