Local Dáil deputies have welcomed the new Outdoor Public Space's Scheme, which has been designed to help local authorities open up and create public spaces and facilities dedicated to the arts, culture and festivals.
The support will allow each local authority to adapt, equip or otherwise improve public spaces for cultural and events activities. The new scheme will take account of public health guidelines and of the needs of local arts and entertainment communities.
Fianna Fáil TD, Dara Calleary, said: "Local authorities are invited to propose capital projects for outdoor spaces which are flexible, innovative and facilitate year-round use.
"Ideally projects should respond to the challenges associated with COVID-19 and support the recovery of the creative, cultural, entertainment and events sector as well as being future-proofed from a health and safety perspective.
"Projects should aim to deliver speedy results or actions with added benefits for tourism, and the hospitality sector. They should also demonstrate how they will support the Night-time Economy. Each local authority can apply for up to €250,000 under the scheme.”
Deputy Calleary added: "The new scheme responds to Recommendation 9 of the Report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce. This specifically proposed that local authorities provide artistic spaces, to improve wellbeing and that can provide year-round use. The details of the scheme have been developed in consultation with the County and City Management Association and with input from Fáilte Ireland."
Fine Gael TD, Alan Dillon said: "The use of outdoor spaces will become increasingly important in the months ahead and this funding will allow for improved outdoor facilities in Mayo.
"The new Outdoor Public Space Scheme allows for proposals on suitable projects to be submitted immediately. The scheme includes an expectation that Mayo County Council will consult with Fáilte Ireland so there should also be added tourism potential from these projects.
"I have sent the details of the scheme to senior officials in Mayo County Council and hope they will be seeking the maximum level of funding.
"While up to €250,000 in funding will be available to Mayo County Council, the funding rate is very generous at 90% per project. I hope to see applications being submitted as soon as possible, so it may be possible for some works to commence before the summer months."
The features of this latest COVID capital fund response are as follows: (1 ) Funding will be available to local authorities; (2 ) Local authorities can apply for a capital grant of up to €250,000 for a project at a funding rate of up to 90%; (3 ) Funding will be awarded for projects that focus on the delivery of infrastructure to support arts, culture, creative activities, entertainment events and festivals and the Night-time Economy; (4 ) Local authorities should consult with Fáilte Ireland on the proposed project; (5 ) Eligible projects include the provision, adaptation or improvement of outdoor public spaces in population centres; (6 ) Local authorities should ensure that proposed facilities are relevant to local needs and circumstances; (7 ) All grants will be paid out on the basis of paid invoices; (8 ) The scheme will apply for the period of the coronavirus crisis and applications will be accepted throughout and (9 ) Local authorities can propose suitable projects for the scheme immediately.