Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, was in Tuar Ard Arts Centre in Moate last Thursday to launch €20 million in funding for rural towns and villages as part of the Action Plan for Rural Development.
Up to 300 towns and villages will benefit from funding under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which will be made available through local authorities in the next 15 months to support rural regeneration. The scheme is specifically targeted at rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000.
Applications from towns can range from €20,000 to a maximum of €100,000. Funding of up to €200,000 will also be considered for a limited number of projects which can deliver exceptionally strong economic benefit to a town and its outlying areas.
Minister Humphreys said: “Ireland’s towns and villages are the heart of our rural communities and it is important that we continue the task of rebuilding and breathing life back into our rural towns and villages and their hinterlands to enable them to become hubs of economic activity, where people want to live and work and meet at a social level.”
Fine Gael Deputy for Longford-Westmeath, Peter Burke, said he is delighted that Minister Humphreys and Minister Michael Ring accepted his invitation to launch the scheme in Moate and welcomed the funding.
“The funding announced this week by Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, and in conjunction with her colleague Minister of State Michael Ring is great news for rural Ireland and I strongly encourage Westmeath County Council to apply. Double the funding is available this year compared to last year, when Westmeath received over €380,000.”
Independent Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said he was particularly pleased that Ministers Humphreys chose Moate in which to launch the funding.
“Moate and places like Kilbeggan, Ballymore, Rochfortbridge, Ballymahon, Granard, and Edgeworthstown are all areas that I would see as having a great opportunity to avail of this new funding,” he said. “The scheme will again be administered through the local authorities, who will be required to work closely with local businesses and local communities to develop and implement ideas that can make a real and sustainable impact in revitalising rural towns and villages across the country.”