On June 25, 2020, Michael Ring TD, Ireland’s Minister for Rural and Community Development, announced the allocation of €13 million in funding to community revitalization 24 projects under the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
The Fund is part of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Investment Programme which is funded under Project Ireland 2040.
The Fund is providing €1 billion in investment over 10 years to support the regeneration and development of rural towns, villages and outlying areas. Initial funding of €315 million was allocated on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022. To date, the Fund has now provided €161 million for 134 projects across Ireland, worth a total of €229 million.
This new announcement relates to Category 2 of the Fund which provides seed capital funding for strategic, large-scale projects which will assist in delivering town and village regeneration and contribute to economic development and recovery.
The funding provided will allow for further development of the projects to take place enabling projects to reach a stage where they are developed to a high standard and the project is in a position to commence works. This will also provide a ready-made pipeline of projects which can be progressed in the future with the support of the Fund or other funding streams.
The applications for funding were subjected to a comprehensive assessment process by the Department, with oversight provided by an independent Project Advisory Board, made up of representatives drawn from key Government Departments along with external independent experts.
In announcing the successful projects, Minister Ring said, “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the scale of investment necessary to allow rural communities to further develop and prosper. This investment is more important than ever to help address the challenges arising from the COVID-19 crisis and to drive economic recovery and sustainable development in rural areas.”
“The Category 2 funding I am announcing today is for projects that require further development to make them ready for construction. There can be significant work and expense involved in getting projects to the point where they are ready to be delivered. This support is critical to ensure that a pipeline of ambitious regeneration projects are ready to hit the ground running in the future,” he added.
The successful projects include:
- The Re-use and Development of Derelict and Vacant Properties Project, led by Limerick City and County Council – an innovative proposal seeking to bring derelict properties back into use, with an emphasis on the housing, in the core of towns and villages in rural Limerick.
- Portumna Vision 2030, led by Galway County Council, that will further prepare plans to develop the town of Portumna and its natural and built heritage into a key hub for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
- The Banagher Regeneration Project, led by Offaly County Council, which will further develop a project seeking to regenerate the town centre and the marina to enhance the town’s potential as an attractive and sustainable place to live, work and visit.
- The Kingscourt Regeneration Project, led by Cavan County Council, which will further prepare plans for the transformation of the centre of the town through redeveloping derelict sites.
“The projects announced today and the projects already approved for funding under the Fund will continue to make a significant and tangible contribution to economic recovery in rural Ireland over the months ahead. This Fund has now made available over €161 million in funding for projects worth a combined total of €229 million. This funding is supporting jobs in every sector within the construction industry, most particularly many companies, contractors and individuals who are themselves based in rural towns and villages. In turn, as these projects are delivered they will help support community development, enterprise development, town centre retail and activity, and assist our tourism industry to rebound strongly,” Ring explained.
Ring concluded, “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents a long-term commitment to rural regeneration and development and will be vital in supporting rural communities in the years ahead. I recently announced the third call for Category 1 proposals under the Fund seeking ambitious, shovel-ready projects which will support the drive for economic recovery and deliver sustainable regeneration and development in rural towns and villages. It is my hope that projects I announced today and the projects which will emerge from the new Category 1 call will contribute strongly to a revitalised rural economy ready to take advantage of the new opportunities emerging from this crisis.”
The applications submitted under this call from the Fund were of a very high standard and it should be noted that if further funding becomes available over the coming months, additional projects submitted to this call may potentially be supported at a later date.