Wednesday, 12 May 2021

  • Funding to support landmark regeneration projects that will transform Rural Ireland
  • Communities urged to put forward projects that will drive economic growth, combat dereliction and breathe new life into town centres
  • Strong focus on converting old buildings into remote working facilities and attracting people back to rural towns and villages 

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (Wednesday, May 12th) announced the third call for Category 2 applications to the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

This Fund will support landmark regeneration projects across the country that will breathe new life into rural towns and villages.

Communities are being urged to put forward projects that will drive economic growth and footfall, combat dereliction, regenerate town centre and heritage buildings, develop pedestrian zones and outdoor spaces and make rural towns more attractive places to live, work and raise a family.

There will also be a strong focus on developing remote working facilities such as digital and enterprise communities, as well as e-learning, cultural and community spaces.

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a key component of Our Rural Future – the Government’s ambitious five year policy for Rural Ireland.  The €1 billion Fund is also part of the Department’s Rural Development Investment Programme, which is funded under Project Ireland 2040.

Projects that will be funded under Category 2 are those that require significant development before they reach the stage of being shovel ready.  They will be projects that can revitalise our towns and villages and attract people back to live and work in rural area – key objectives of Our Rural Future

To date, the Fund has delivered €249 million for 164 projects worth a total of €338 million across the country.

Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte welcomed the latest announcement:

I am thrilled to see such a commitment in government to rural Ireland.  The strong focus on developing remote working facilities such as digital and enterprise communities, as well as e-learning, cultural and community spaces is music to my ears.  My desk is piled high with innovative, disruptive proposals and projects from the enterprise, e-learning and remote working communities – I have been engaging with some really impressive well organised community groups long before the pandemic. 

And she continued:

Paradoxically, the pandemic has accelerated the movements that were already taking place such as remote working, co-working hubs and digital transformation.  Post-pandemic, all of these innovations will be mainstream.  I want to see East Galway at the forefront of this disruption and innovation, the ultimate winners – our rural towns, villages and communities.  We need to be big,  we need to be bold and we need to be fearless in our approach.

Full details on the fund, application forms and links to previous successful projects, simply follow this link:  gov.ie

Announcing the call, Minister Humphreys said:

Today I am opening the third call for Category 2 applications to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.  I am seeking large-scale, ambitious projects which require development support to enable them to become ready to compete for full capital funding under Category 1 of the Fund.

The Government’s new rural policy – Our Rural Future – has set out an ambitious vision for Rural Ireland and this Fund is one of the key means of realising that ambition.    Only last month, I announced €81 million in support from this Fund for 25 landmark projects around the country and it is vital that we maintain this momentum.  I want to see new projects which match my ambition for rural areas – delivering sustainable growth, greater activity and innovative approaches to revitalising our rural towns and villages. 

I also want to see projects that will address dereliction and support the Government’s desire to make remote working a permanent fixture in the lives of tens of thousands of our citizens.

This Fund represents a once in a generation opportunity – I urge you all to be bold and be ambitious with your proposals.

Minister Humphreys added:

The investment that is being provided through this Fund is truly transformational in scale.  It is allowing rural communities to transform and reshape their towns and villages and to position them to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the pandemic in terms of remote working and of people returning to rural areas to live and work.

The development of these large scale projects requires significant resources and the Category 2 funding provided through this call will enable projects to reach a stage where they are developed to a high standard and are ready to commence. This will ensure that there is a pipeline of high-quality, ambitious projects ready to compete for funding in future Category 1 calls from the Fund. 

I encourage our partners, stakeholders and rural communities to work together to avail of this wonderful opportunity.

Full details are available on gov.ie