National program awards $24.32 million to 27 projects that will regenerate derelict sites and buildings to revitalize rural downtowns

On January 6, 2022, Ireland‘s Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, announced €21.5 million ($24.32 million USD) for 27 landmark regeneration projects in rural communities across the country.

The funding, under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF), is being invested in projects that will rejuvenate town centers, drive economic growth and pedestrian traffic, combat dereliction, develop pedestrian zones and outdoor spaces and boost tourism in rural Ireland.

A number of the projects approved for funding involve the re-purposing of old, derelict and historical buildings into modern-day remote working hubs, as well as enterprise, cultural and community facilities.

The funding being announced today will bring these projects through the development stage and to the point where they are ready to commence works.

Announcing the funding for the 27 projects, Minister Humphreys said, “In 2022, we will continue to roll-out unprecedented levels of investment in Rural Ireland – making our towns and villages even better places to live, work, raise a family and run a business. Today’s announcement is proof of our strong commitment to supporting our rural communities both economically and socially.

The projects being invested in represent the huge ambition that underpins ‘Our Rural Future’ and will have a truly transformational impact right across the country. When complete, these projects will leave a lasting difference on these locations for generations to come, benefitting tens of thousands of families in Rural Ireland,” she continued.

The successful projects announced today are Category 2 Projects. Projects funded under Category 2 are those that require significant development before they reach the stage of being shovel-ready.

The projects receiving funding include:

  • Edenderry Regeneration Phase II, Co. Offaly – €2.15 million: This significant investment will turn a major derelict site in the town centre into a state-of-the-art community centre, providing for a community library, as well as leisure and cultural facilities.
  • Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim – €596, 290: A landmark project that will see two high-profile buildings in the town centre – including a former Bank of Ireland building re-purposed as the Exchange Smart Working Hub and Creative Studios, providing remote working and creative spaces. The project will create access to the town backlands for recreation and business use, and also includes the carrying out of design works for the People’s Park.
  • Dungarvan Digital Transformation Hub, Co. Waterford – €1.39 million: This project will see the renovation of three town centre buildings into a Digital Transformation Hub – delivering office, training and innovation workspace for almost 200 people.
  • Listowel, Co. Kerry: ‘Where Story Begins’ – €729,304: This major project involves the renewal of the town square, as well as the provision of a multifunctional co-working, tourism, heritage and cultural building. It also involves the connection of the North Kerry Greenway into the heart of the town and the repurposing of under-utilised units in the town centre as enterprise spaces.
  • Oldcastle Town Centre, Co. Meath – €854,502: This project will see major public realm upgrades to the town square, as well as the transformation of the vacant Fairgreen area into a new plaza and bowling green.
  • Borris-in-Ossary, Co, Laois – €212,000: This project involves the renovation and re-use of the historic courthouse building as a remote working and community facility.
  • ‘Granard Destination Town’, Co. Longford: €1.11 million: This project involves the development of a multi-use open space and parkland, as well as public realm enhancements – increasing connectivity and reducing congestion in the town centre.
  • Rathvilly, Co. Carlow – €222,000: ‘Vision Rathvilly’ involves the development of a village regeneration project in Rathvilly, involving a multi-purpose hub in a former school premises that will provide social, cultural, economic and community facilities.
  • Gort, Co, Galway – €798,000: The G’ort Inse Guaire’ project involves the re-design of the Market Square and town centre streets and will reinvigorate Canon Quinn Park, a greenspace in the town centre.
  • Nenagh, Co. Tipperary – €1.2 million: The Rialto Digital and Enteprise Hub will replace a disused cinema in the town. The plans will see the re-development of a brownfield site behind the hub, a new streetscape and will explore the potential provision of town centre housing and a new public amenity.
  • Callan, Co. Kilkenny – €862,000: This project is focussed on the regeneration of the historic core of Callan Town and will re-develop existing historical buildings to provide a library, youth, community, arts space and a remote working hub.
  • Buncrana, Co Donegal – €1.17 million: ‘Repowering Buncrana’ will strengthen the shore front, enhance walking and cycling facilities , provide quality shore front amenities and integrate art and biodiversity into the urban landscape.

Commenting further on the funding announcement, Minister Humphreys added, “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, along with the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Fund, is delivering unprecedented levels of investment to rural communities. This Fund alone has now delivered €277 million in funding for 191 projects worth a total of €374 million.”

I’m particularly pleased to see that so many projects being supported today will provide remote working opportunities for tens of thousands of people. Remote Working is the now very much part of the fabric of Rural Ireland due to COVID-19. By continuing to invest in remote working facilities – by turning old, run-down buildings into digital hubs, we will ensure more of our young people can work and live in their own community,” she concluded.

This announcement relates to Category 2 of the Fund which provides seed funding for strategic, large-scale projects which will assist in delivering town and village regeneration and economic and enterprise development.

The funding provided will enable the development of these projects to a high standard and get them to a point where they are ready to commence works. The funding also ensures a continuing 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.

Photo of Irish village center by dhightower from Pixabay.

See full list of the successful projects.

Learn more about the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

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