Details of funding announced for rural areas to ‘help adaption to the new normal’

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys has announced the allocation of €5.5 million in funding for regeneration projects in seven communities, under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

This is the second and final announcement of projects to receive funding through this initiative. The most recent projects announced include the regeneration of town centres in counties Tipperary and Kerry, along with bringing derelict properties back into use in Co. Limerick.

The ‘new normal’

This comes after the announcement earlier this week that funds have also been allocated to support towns and villages in adapting to the “new normal”.

€2.8 million has been made available through the Town and Village Renewal Scheme as part of the July Jobs Stimulus. It is expected to benefit 106 towns and villages throughout the country in a bid to help communities to “shop, socialise and work safely” in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the minister.

A number of projects will be developed as a result of the funding, including walkways and footpaths; seating for shoppers; and enhancements to community centres to allow for remote working.

Minister Humphreys said that it is “vital to increase footfall in towns and villages by supporting them to adapt to this new normal” as a result of Covid-19.

‘Increase footfall and assist businesses’

The July Stimulus Package includes an additional €10 million for towns and villages; €5 million for upgrading and improving community centres; and €2 million extra to support the islands.

Minister Humphreys added that local authorities have been developing “creative and innovative proposals” to increase footfall and assist businesses in rural towns and villages.

‘Hammer blow to the heart of rural Ireland’

Meanwhile, the Rural Independent Group of TDs have written to the Taoiseach this week, seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the decision to keep pubs closed for a further three weeks, a move it describes as a “hammer blow”.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath, of the Rural Independent Group, has sought an urgent meeting to immediately review the decision which the group says will “decimate rural Ireland even further as a large number of rural pubs will never re-open following yesterday’s decision”.

“This is a blatant attack on rural Ireland and on the publicans,” deputy McGrath added.