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National Rural Network

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Irish Rural link directly represents over 600 community groups with a combined membership of 25,000 throughout Ireland.

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Irish Rural Link Ltd.,
Moate Business Park,
Moate, Co. Westmeath,
tel: +353 90 6482744


Posted on: November 1st, 2017 by IRL

Irish Rural Link Annual Conference 2018

MICRO – Enhancing Competitiveness of Micro Enterprises in Rural Areas – Supports, Guidance and Tools available

The Cavan Crystal Hotel, 11th May 2018

Irish Rural Link Annual Conference 2018 will take place on Friday 11th May in The Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan. The focus of this years conference is Micro enterprises and the important contribution they make to rural areas through job creation. The conference will be opened by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys. A panel discussion with Chair of LEO and local entrepreneurs will take place as well as workshops. For more information and copy of agenda available here 

This is a FREE event but please register your interest to attend on Event Brite


Irish Rural Link to Host two Information Events on Deep Retrofitting

IRL will host two public information evenings on the new Government’s grant scheme for deep energy efficiency home improvements, announced recently by Minister Denis Naughten and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. More details are available here 

Friday 27th April 2018 at 7pm                 

Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone                                          

Minister Denis Naughten TD to open the event

Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 7pm              

Anglers Rest Hotel, Headford, Galway                   

Minister of State Sean Kyne TD to open the event

Should you require additional information in relation to the scheme or the events please contact Sinead Dooley at Irish Rural Link on or phone 090 6482744

See links to two clips on the benefits of retrofitting to your home


PRESS RELEASE 29th January 2018

Irish Rural Link in Malaga for the third Meeting of the MICRO Project

Irish Rural Link – the national network representing the interest of rural communities was in Malaga on January 25th and 26th for the third Meeting of Enhancing Competitiveness of Microenterprises in Rural Areas (MICRO) in Brussels, a Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, Key Action 2, Strategic Partnerships for Vocational and Educational Training.

MICRO is implemented by 7 partners from 6 countries (Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia and Spain).

The idea behind MICRO is to sustain the growth and competitiveness of rural microenterprises by developing practical training resources and a dedicated Open Educational Resource (OER Platform).  The platform will initially contain short focused online training on topics suggested from a consultation with microenterprises in rural areas in each of the 6 participating countries.

During the meeting, partners revised the OER Platform and finalized the training courses developed under IO3. Furthermore, they agreed upon timeline and delivering of trainings under IO4 – Test and Validation.

An important issue discussed in the meeting was Dissemination activities. Partners are strongly committed to give great visibility to the Project, a dedicated Multiplier Event will be held in each Project country during the next months in addition to ordinary online and offline Dissemination activities.

Irish Rural Link (Lead Partner) founded in 1991, is a national network of organisations and individuals advocating for sustainable rural development in Ireland and Europe.  IRL, a non-profit organization has grown significantly since its inception and now directly represents over 600 community groups and individuals with a combined membership of 25,000.  The network provides a structure through which rural groups and individuals representing disadvantaged rural communities, can articulate their common needs and priorities, share their experiences and present their case to policy makers at local, national and EU level.  As Lead partner, IRL is responsible for the management and coordination of the Micro Project.

For further information about MICRO project, contact us:

Maria Pettit & Siobhan Kinahan

Tel: 090 6482744


Visit our website:     Or MICRO website:



MICRO ERASMUS+ Project Partners meet in Malaga

Micro Project Partners meeting in 2017 – Maria Pettit & Siobhan Kinahan (IRL – Project Leaders) with, Maynooth University, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Greece and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

When: Thursday  January 25th, 2018 – 9:00 to Friday January 26th – 17:00

Where: Malaga, Spain

Micro-enterprises (less that 10 employees) represent the vast majority of businesses (more than 95%) and employ around one third of the total EU workforce.  Particularly in rural areas micro-enterprises are the main source of employment yet are the most exposed to the economic management and competitiveness challenges. Micro-enterprises tend to remain ‘local’ seldom operating outside their national boundaries. But technological advances are offering new opportunities.

The idea behind MICRO is to develop and deploy Open Educational Resources (open and widely available training content and modules) targeted at micro and craft type enterprises in rural areas to foster their chances of growth and access to EU single market opportunities.  Ultimately this will enhance micro and craft type enterprise competitiveness by leveraging underutilised EU opportunities and promoting participation in the EU Single Market.  Studies (SMEs Going Digital EU Working Document (2013) and ICT usage in enterprises Eurostat (2013) show that micro-enterprises’ competitiveness is limited by their slow adoption of ICT tools: The European Commission DG Enterprise in Identification of Future Skills, Needs in Micro Enterprise and Craft Type Enterprise Up to 2020 (2011) urgently calls for the ‘development of tools and skills training structures with special focus on micro and craft type enterprises’… to empower them to fully participate in the EU Single Market’.

This is the focus of the MICRO project: The development of accessible EU wide training materials combining the skills and knowledge of project partners.


Irish Rural Link Information Briefing on Rural Services

Irish Rural Link held an information briefing on services in rural areas for TD’s and Senators in Buswells Hotel, Dublin on Thursday 26th October. Representatives from Local Link (New name for Rural Transport Programme), Meals on Wheels and Mental Health Ireland along with Irish Rural Link’s ‘Getting Citizens Online’ Coordinator and Local Public Banking were present on the day. The aim of the day was to inform Dáil members about the services these groups provide in rural areas, the challenges and opportunities for these services.


3rd European Rural Parliament

The 3rd European Rural Parliament is about to take place – October 18-21 in The Netherlands.

You can join the event through live-streaming!

This will be available during plenary sessions at the following times:
Thursday October 19 – 9.00 – 10.30 CET
Friday October 20 – 8.45 – 13.00 CET

Saturday October 21 – 9.00 – 15.00 CET
Simply click on the following link to open the live streaming:…/UCzhiOXPCQbv2wm2fO6zn5ow/live



Irish Rural Link presented to the Oireachtas Finance Committee along with SBFIC Germany on the 12th October 2017 on a Local Public Banking Model in Ireland. The model proposed is similar to the German Sparkassen Model.

A copy of Seamus Boland’s (CEO Irish Rural Link) and Niclaus Bergmann (SBFIC) opening statements are available

Seamus Boland Opening Statement

Niclaus Bergmann Opening Statement


Care and Solidarity in the Community,  Garden Party hosted by President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin on Friday 30th June.

President Michael D. Higgins Speech 30 June 2017


Irish Rural Link Annual Conference 2017

Pictured Minister Denis Naughten with Speakers, Patricia Callan SFA, Christine Charlton LEO Westmeath, Harald Felzen Sparkassen SBFIC, Dr. Michael Brougham Enterprise Ireland, Michael Kenny NUIM and Micro Project. Also pictured Billy Murphy, Chair of Irish Rural Link and Pat Spillane Ambassador for Action Plan for Rural Development.

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