Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, has today (Monday, April 29) announced funding of over €20 million to benefit rural towns and villages.

Funding is being allocated to deliver 82 projects across Ireland. The successful projects include the regeneration of derelict buildings, the provision of public plazas and farmers’ markets in town centres, and the development of town parks.

The investment is being provided under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme with a particular emphasis on the revitalisation of rural town centres.

Announcing the funding in Mayo, Minister Humphreys said: “The benefit of this funding will be felt the length and breadth of the country.

“These projects have come from local communities themselves and I am delighted to see such a diverse range of projects ranging from new town parks and playgrounds to the development of farmers’ markets and outdoor dining spaces.

“I am also pleased to see a number of successful projects which will see vacant and derelict buildings brought back into use and repurposed with community halls and youth centres being provided,” the minister added.

Projects in rural towns and villages

Examples of some of the successful projects being funded today include:

  • Cape Clear, Co. Cork (€228,355): ​Development of Cape Clear’s first children’s playground in the North Harbour;
  • Ballyroan, Co. Laois (€500,000): ​Redevelopment of the Old Boys School to include a children’s playground, multi-use games area (MUGA), car park facility, public lighting and landscaping;
  • Carrick-On-Shannon, Co. Leitrim (€495,602): Bringing a vacant/derelict building back into use as a community/youth arts facility serving communities of all ages;
  • Enfield, Co. Meath (€500,000): The redevelopment and refurbishment of a vacant building to bring it back into use as a community facility;
  • Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon (€500,000): Creation of an inclusive and accessible town park, offering outdoor recreation in the centre of Ballaghaderreen;
  • Culfadda, Co. Sligo (€250,000): ​​​​​ Refurbishment of a vacant, village centre pub into a community social enterprise;
  • Lacken, Co. Wicklow (€250,000): Renovation of the old schoolhouse, built in 1869, into a community heritage centre and cafe.

Other projects include improving facilities at Ballyhaise Amenity Park in Co. Cavan, upgrading the community hall roof in Lisavaird, Co. Cork and refurbishment of an old vacant cottage at Castletown, Co, Meath for community use.

The minister added: “There are more people living in rural Ireland than ever before. There are more people working in rural Ireland than ever before and there is more investment going into rural Ireland than ever before.

“These projects are all about making our rural towns and villages great places to live, work and raise a family.

“I want to thank the local communities who brought forward these proposals and I look forward to seeing work commence on many of these exciting projects in the near future.”

Since the Town and Village Renewal Scheme was introduced in 2016, over €177 million has been approved for almost 1,800 projects across the country.

Meanwhile, Minister Humphreys, also visited Eachléim, Co. Mayo today to officially open the €4 million SOLAS Visitor Experience and Tourism Hub for the North Mayo Gaeltacht.

SOLAS is a new hub where visitors can explore the natural and cultural heritage of the area including a visit to the Blacksod Lighthouse.