€10m available in 2016 to support the revitalisation of rural towns and villages

Some €10m will be made available to Local Authorities in 2016 to support the regeneration of rural towns and villages across Ireland, it has been announced.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys made the announcement today at the launch of the Rural Town and Village Renewal scheme for 2016.

Speaking in Clones, Co. Monaghan, Minister Humphreys said that rural development is a key priority in the Programme for a Partnership Government.

“Ireland’s towns and villages are the heart of our rural communities, but the economic downturn had a significant impact on many of these towns and villages.

“It is incumbent on us to help them achieve a recovery. I am launching the Town and Village Renewal Scheme today to begin breathing life back into our rural towns and villages.

“It is critical that towns and villages become areas where economic activity can flourish, where people can live and work, and where people can meet at a social level.”

Minister Humphreys said that an allocation of €10m is being made available by the Government this year for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

“I have more than doubled the allocation for the scheme in my Department’s Vote this year, from €4m to €10m, reflecting the Government’s commitment to the development of rural Ireland.”

Up to 200 towns and villages right across the country will benefit from the scheme this year.

The Minister said that consultation and collaboration will be key elements of the scheme.

“It will be administered through the Local Authorities, who will be required to partner with local businesses and local communities to develop and implement ideas that can make a real and lasting impact in revitalising rural towns and villages.”

The Town and Village Renewal scheme is part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the benefits of economic recovery are felt in every part of the country.

The scheme also addresses one of the recommendations in the CEDRA report, which was published in 2014.

A particular focus will be placed in 2016 on supporting smaller towns, with populations of less than 5,000. A smaller number of projects can be supported in each county for towns with a population of up to 10,000, the Department said.