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