The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, is today (Thursday) being joined by the Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, Michael Ring, TD, to announce €20 million in funding for rural towns and villages as part of the Action Plan for Rural Development. The Ministers made the announcement at an event in the Tuar Ard Arts Centre, Moate, Co. Westmeath.
Up to 300 towns and villages will benefit from funding under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which will be made available through Local Authorities over the next 15 months to support rural regeneration. The scheme is specifically targeted at rural towns and villages 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.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said: “The Action Plan for Rural Development, which was launched in January of this year, contains over 270 actions across Government to help rural Ireland achieve its full economic and social potential. Ireland’s towns and villages are the heart of our rural communities and it is important that we continue the task of rebuilding and breathing life back into our rural towns and villages and their hinterlands to enable them to become hubs of economic activity, where people want to live and work and meet at a social level.”
“Following on from the success of the 2016 scheme, I am allocating €20 million for an enhanced programme this year which will benefit up to 300 towns and villages right across Ireland. This year’s scheme will place an emphasis on measures which have a clear economic impact on rural towns and villages. Some funding will also be available for art works in public spaces which reflect the culture of a town or region and involve participation by local artists, which was a commitment under the Action Plan for Rural Development.”
“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is part of a package of measures at national and local level to support the rejuvenation of towns and villages across Ireland, which also includes initiatives in areas such as heritage, tourism, arts and culture, the re-use of vacant premises, energy efficiency and business supports. Projects which demonstrate linkages with wider initiatives to increase the overall impact on town and village revival will be strongly encouraged.”