Tuesday 22 October 2019

Local projects set to benefit from major funding windfall

Banteer the big winner with €1.1 million set aside for sports and community facilities

Bill Browne

A number of significant rural areas across the north and mid-Cork areas are set to share in a more than €60 million funding windfall aimed at enhancing social and recreations facilities within local communities. 

The funding has been allocated to applicants under the second tranche of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, an offshoot of the Governments ambitious 'Project Ireland 2040' programme, that supports self-sustaining projects in towns and villages with populations under 10,000 people.

Under the latest round of funding some 66 projects across the country will share in a €62 million pot, bringing the total amount of monies allocated through the Fund over the past to €86 million. 

This funding is being leveraged with a further €31 million in matched funding though different State bodies, bringing the total investment under the initiative to €117 million. 

Announcing the funding The Minister for Rural and community Development, Michael Ring TD said the monies will be used to support measures that "support the rejuvenation of communities, job creation and transform rural economies."

"It is vital that we continue to build resilience in rural communities and make our towns and villages vibrant places for families to live. It is also particularly appropriate, with Brexit approaching, that we continue to strengthen the rural economy and support sustainable development," said Minister Ring. 

"The projects that this fund supports are targeting areas where they can have the greatest economic and social impact," he added. 

By some distance the biggest winner in Cork through this round of funding is the village of Banteer, which has been allocated just over €1.1 million for the its dedicated amenity project. The money will be used to build a multi-purpose astro turf with a spectator area and sports pavilion. This will also incorporate a museum/exhibition area, communal area for events, cafe, shop and car-park. 

Funding of €375,000 has been allocated to Anne's Grove near Castletownroche, the running of which was taken over by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in 2016. 

The money will be used to complete a plan to develop the visitor potential for the house and gardens, which are widely regarded as one of north Cork's horticultural gems. 

Funding of €180,000 has been set aside for a masterplan that will set out the case for the redevelopment of the Coláiste Íosagáin Campus in Baile Bhuirne and €122,025 allocated to Rathcormac for a variety of heritage and employment initiatives under the umbrella of its strategic development plan. 

More than €56,000 has been set aside for an infrastructural development plan to enhance the 'economic viability' of Ballydesmond village.

Finally, €206,000 was allocated to Cork County Council for the creation of a Rural Digital Innovation hub strategy. 

The funding has been widely welcomed by local public representatives including Cork North West TD Minister Michael Creed, Cork East TD's David Stanton and Kevin O'Keeffe and local county councillors including John Paul O'Shea and Bernard Moynihan and Cork East election candidate Patrick  O'Driscoll.