Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, has announced €5 million in funding for rural economic development.
Details of a new phase of the Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ ) initiative were announced by the Minister yesterday (Wednesday ) at the National Ploughing Championships.
The €5 million in funding is seen as building on the success of the 2015 pilot scheme, which saw €3.8 million provided to projects across Ireland.
Longford-Westmeath Deputy, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, is encouraging local authorities in the constituency to apply for a rural stimulus package aimed at reviving economic development in rural towns and their hinterlands.
Deputy Moran said that the Independent Alliance, as part of the Programme for Government, have put special emphasis on ensuring that rural communities and their hinterlands are not left behind as the economy recovers.
“There are tremendous economic opportunities that could support job creation in constituencies like Longford-Westmeath and it is a subject that I feel very passionate about, the idea that people who want to live and work in rural Ireland, can do so,” said Deputy Moran.
Deputy Moran said he would encourage local authorities to work with local communities, business interests, and other State bodies, to identify areas of greatest economic need which can make better use of their local assets to generate economic activity.
“This scheme is about local communities and helping them to develop economic opportunities that will lead to job creation and an increase in money circulating locally,” he said. “Under the 2016 scheme, every county in the country will receive approval for at least one REDZ project.”
Deputy Moran said that the REDZ scheme will complement the €10 million Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which was launched in August: “Both schemes are designed to help support a higher quality of life for both town dwellers and those who live in the rural hinterlands into the future,” he concluded.
The 2016 REDZ scheme will provide up to 80 per cent financial support for proposed projects, with the balance of costs to be provided from other sources such as local authorities, business interests, or through community-based funding.