Irish islands are smiling as they get €370,000 for resilience to climate-related sea level rise and storms via infrastructure renewal

On September 23, 2020, responsibility for the redevelopment, resilience and economies of Ireland‘s offshore Islands was transferred from the nation’s Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to the Minister for Rural and Community Development.

As part of the transfer of responsibility, Rural and Community Development allocated €370,000 in grants for infrastructure renewal projects that will boost the islands’ resilience again climate crisis-related sea level rise and storms.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, TD said “Our offshore islands and their communities are an integral part of the fabric of rural Ireland. The Government’s ambition is to ensure that our offshore islands continue to support sustainable and vibrant communities and that visitors have an opportunity to experience and appreciate the unique culture, heritage and environmental richness the islands have to offer.

The issues affecting our islands are similar to those in the rest of rural Ireland, whether they relate to employment opportunities, access to services, or the social and economic impact of COVID-19. That is why the Taoiseach decided to assign responsibility for the islands to the Department of Rural and Community Development,” she added.

The Islands to benefit from this funding are Cléire, Heir Island and Sherkin Island in County Cork; Inishbofin and Árainn (Inis Mór) in County Galway; and Árainn Mhór in County Donegal.

Works to be undertaken with the funding being announced today include resurfacing of roads, repairs to sea walls and slipways, and work on damaged coastal defenses.

The integration of the islands function under the remit of my Department will ensure a more integrated and cohesive approach to the development of rural and community policy for the people living on the islands and for their economies. The €370,000 in grants being announced today for the islands are additional to €700,000 which was already approved this year under the small capital grants scheme. This level of funding has been made possible through the Government’s July Stimulus Package,” Humphreys continued.

I want to acknowledge the work of Ministers Catherine Martin and Jack Chambers and their Department in administering and assessing the applications under the small capital grants scheme. The seamless transfer of the scheme across our Departments demonstrates the whole-of-Government commitment to supporting island communities. The addition of the existing Island’s Unit to my Department’s team will ensure a seamless continuation of the delivery of services to the islands, including the continued provision of a service to communities on the Gaeltacht islands through Irish,” she explained.

The allocation of approximately €370,000 in small capital grants for the offshore islands has been approved for Cork County Council, Galway County Council and Donegal County Council as follows:

  • Cork County Council: €79,125
  • Galway County Council: €191,738
  • Donegal County Council: €98,828

The Programme for Government includes a commitment to develop a new Policy for Island Development which will identify and address the main challenges and opportunities to support the social, economic and cultural development of our island communities. There has already been a large amount of consultation in relation to the development of this policy, and this consultation will continue under my Department to fully inform the new Islands policy,” Humphreys concluded.

Photo of the former girls’ national school on the island of Árainn Mhór is by Dunaevam via Wikipedia.

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