Farm Ireland

Wednesday 25 April 2018

300 rural areas in line to share pot of €15m

Minister for Rural Affairs, Michael Ring TD. Photo: Tom Burke
Minister for Rural Affairs, Michael Ring TD. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Up to 300 towns and villages are to be given an end-of-year boost under plans by the Government to rejuvenate rural Ireland.

It is understood Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring has secured a significant increase in funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

The scheme was given a €10m budget last year, but sources say Mr Ring will announce a fund in the coming weeks of about €15m.

Local authorities dispense funding to towns and villages, with the scheme specifically aimed at areas with populations of less than 10,000.

Applications from towns can range from €20,000 to a maximum of €100,000.

Funding of up to €200,000 will also be considered for a limited number of projects which can deliver "exceptionally strong economic benefit to a town and its outlying areas".

Funding is aimed at a range of projects, such as improving playgrounds and footpaths, tourism amenities, and the installation of public art pieces.

Government sources last night said the scheme is essentially aimed at rejuvenating rural Ireland and persuading people to return home from cities.

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is part of a package of measures at national and local level to support the rejuvenation of towns and villages across Ireland, which also includes initiatives in areas such as heritage, tourism, arts and culture, the re-use of vacant premises, energy efficiency and business supports, a source said.

Projects which demonstrate linkages with wider initiatives to increase the overall impact on town and village revival will be strongly encouraged.

"Schemes like Town and Village Renewal are a key part of the action plan for rural development," the source added.

Mr Ring is also fighting for funding for areas now crucial to his brief, such as post offices, national parks, the LEADER programme and the Rural Renovation scheme.

It is understood the additional funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme - which initially began as a €4m fund - will be announced separate to the Budget in early October.

Irish Independent

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