Funding of €20 million for the development of community centres across Ireland has been announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys and Minister of State Joe O’Brien today (Thursday, September 29).

The funding will be distributed in the form of grants, which will be provided for the construction of new-build community centres in specific areas, and for improvement works to existing facilities.

In addition to this, the ministers announced that a further €20 million in funding will be made available immediately, to assist small community groups with the rising cost of living.

It was confirmed that €10 million of this will be earmarked for assistance with energy bills.

Both of the measures are among the highlights of the €390 million package allocated to rural and community development in Budget 2023, which was announced on Tuesday (September 27).

The ministers made the announcement at the 13th Rural Development Conference, which is being held by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Co. Cavan.

It is the first time Ireland has hosted the event, which continues until tomorrow evening (Friday, September 30).

Speaking about the announcement of the funding, Minister Humphreys said:

“I’m really pleased that the budget contains significant funding for our community centres, which have been so important for people of all ages as we’ve reconnected coming out of Covid-19.

“I’m delighted to announce this funding this week as Ireland hosts a major rural development conference in conjunction with the OECD.

“Ireland has been chosen to host this conference in recognition of our unique rural development policy, ‘Our Rural Future’, which is held up internationally as an example of how rural development policy should be implemented.”

Budget 2023 also allocated funding of more than €200 million to rural development schemes including the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

Among other allocations, €11 million has been made available in the budget to assist community responses to the Ukraine crisis. The funding is set to be used for helping Ukrainian citizens to integrate into communities around Ireland.