The Monaghan PoliRural pilot Foresight Action Plan aims to achieve Ireland’s highest county-proportion of non-traditional new entrants and young farmers in rural Monaghan by 2030, through locally orchestrated and implemented rural development policies and supports that actively encourage young people, women, and families to move to, or remain in the region.

But what is the rural attractiveness of Monaghan for newcomers now?

A survey of 41 new entrants to Monaghan carried out by Monaghan Integrated Development (MID) in February 2022, found that work attracted 24% of them to live and work in the county, but over 70% were attracted by its people (family and relationships). While most readily adapted to life in Monaghan (83% plan to stay), they found accommodation/housing to be expensive, but enjoyed the beautiful rural countryside, friendly community and people who are kind, innovative and industrious.

There is a great sense of pride in the county and those living in it mostly benefit from its peaceful, historic, and natural beauty. However, “it rains a lot”, “can be dull”, “quiet”, “remote”, and “lonely”. Many appreciated Monaghan’s central location between Dublin and Belfast north of the border, but feel that the region is underdeveloped, has limited public transport and infrastructure, and most rural areas are distant from amenities, services, and beaches. While there are a variety of work opportunities in Monaghan, they are not well paid, and offer “little opportunity for growth”. However, the growth in remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic now provides major opportunities for diversification of the rural economy and the provision of well-paid jobs for educated and qualified people, but broadband access is limited.

To improve the attractiveness of life in rural Monaghan, they suggested improved leisure facilities, enhanced greenways, better public transport, more broadband in rural areas for remote/hybrid workers and more high-income jobs, as well as more community involvement in local governance. These have been incorporated into Monaghan’s Action Plan.

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