A €30m funding for rural Ireland which was announced by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, is recognition of the potential of rural Ireland.

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Laois, Enda Kenny said the fund would be used for  projects including greening and job creation.

He said the €30m will not sort out all rural Ireland’s issues but is a recognition of the potential of rural Ireland.

He said the funding is designed for a range of purposes including tackling minor infrastructural deficits and upgrading parks and greenways, while also going towards job creation.

Full details of the scheme will be announced by Ann Phelan, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, on Tuesday, the Taoiseach said.

Local authorities will be invited to apply for funding, which will have a budget of €30m and run over a number of years.

The scheme comes following the report by the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) which was chaired by Pat Spillane.

Its research shows that rural towns were more severely affected by the economic downturn than cities and towns.

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy strongly criticised the Government’s announcement of a €30m Rural Renewal Scheme as ‘pathetic’.

Speaking from the National Ploughing Championships, the Midlands North West MEP said the €30m announcement was pathetic and insulating. W

“When you consider that more money was actually spent on a underground DART proposal for Dublin that will now not even go ahead it shows in stark terms this government’s approach to rural communities.”