Headford confirmed as second ‘Smart Villages’ location

galway daily news smart villages headford

Galway Rural Development has confirmed Headford will be its second location for ‘Smart Villages’.

MEP Maria Walsh visited the town on Saturday to confirm the news following a town meeting last week.

All of the main town stakeholders were present at the meeting on the invitation of Galway Rural Development (GRD). 

Across the EU, ‘Smart Villages’ have implemented improvements to the lives of millions of rural dwellers in terms of their economic, social, environmental, and cultural lives.

In Ireland, 16 regions came together last year to develop a national Smart Villages programme.

Led by Galway Rural Development, and with partners in Kilkenny and Cork, the initiative has been described as ‘a game-changer for rural areas.

“Essentially, the Smart Villages concept opens up new opportunities to improve the sustainability of rural areas and it reflects the principles and methods associated with being ‘smart and competitive’,” said CEO of GRD, Steve Dolan. 

“By any measure, Smart Villages Mountbellew has been an unqualified success and we’ve now had a wonderful beginning here in Headford.

“As a start point, Smart Village training has been developed to address the needs of the community and businesses alike.

“This training, beginning this coming Tuesday in Saint Fursa’s Hall at 8pm, will help up-skill the wider Headford community under a number of strategic themes in the areas of food, nature, smart towns, and transport. Everyone in the wider Headford area is welcome to attend.”

MEP Maria Walsh was keen to acknowledge the potential for the initiative in Headford and praised the ambition.

“I’ve seen first-hand the success of the initiative in Mountbellew over the past 12 months and, given my own background in community work, I am intimately familiar with LEADER,” she said.

“Given the evidence of ‘Smart Villages’ successes across the EU, I’m delighted to see it embraced in Headford.”

Ms Walsh said she looked forward to the fruits of the work over the coming months.

“Sharing ideas, sharing experience, and building intercommunity relationships are core concepts of Smart Villages which aims to deliver for communities.

“If we are to build a vibrant rural future for Irish citizens’, then proven initiatives like this must be central to our endeavours and I know how committed the team at GRD are to its goals.”

Councillor Andrew Reddington also warmly welcomed the news.

“Smart Villages is expected to be a major element of the next round of EU Programming, including for LEADER resources.

“When the opportunity came for Headford to be included as part of this initiative, as a community we have grabbed it and we have ambitious plans for what we would like seen achieved. The journey starts here.”