The paper begins with a review of the contemporary rural development agenda, highlighting the primary policy aims of the EU governance and rural development model. The methodological approach of this study and a review of some of the main economic, social and cultural characteristics of Iorras Aithneach are then presented. The second half of the paper focuses on operational strategies of the main rural development agencies in Iorras Aithneach, and presents an analysis of primary qualitative data collected in Iorras Aithneach between 2006 and 2008. The analysis of the qualitative data explores the context of poor engagement in contemporary rural development programmes in Iorras Aithneach and points to a range of pragmatic factors (bureaucratic, economic) and socio-cultural factors (tradition and identitybased) that represent central inhibitors.


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