The Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has said that the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a game changer for rural Ireland.
Minister Ring also debunked efforts by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to portray the fund as part of existing funding commitments for the Department of Rural and Community Development.
“Let me make it clear that the Rural Regeneration fund represents €1bn in additional Government investment in our rural towns, villages and outlying rural areas to be administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
“It is disappointing that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has chosen to try to mislead people on this hugely important investment for rural Ireland. I want people to know that this is €1bn in new money which will be invested in rural communities through my Department, on top of what had already been committed.
“The additional investment under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will commence in 2019 and will ramp up incrementally over the first 4 years before reaching a steady level of investment. This will see a 60% increase in Departmental funding next year and a doubling of expenditure within four years.
“The objective of the new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will be to invest in our rural towns, villages and outlying rural areas and in so doing, drive further investment by agencies, local authorities and other public bodies. I look forward to announcing further details of this fund with Minister Donohue in the coming weeks.
“This fund will be a game changer for rural Ireland. It means a massive increase in targeted investment in our rural towns, villages and rural communities through schemes such as the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, Rural Recreation Scheme, CLÁR and the LIS.
“It is also important to note that the €2 billion Urban Regeneration Fund, which was also announced as part of Project Ireland 2040, will significantly benefit large rural towns. This is new money which will be invested in the 41 population centres with a population of 10,000 or more.
“Most of these are rural towns and this fund will greatly benefit these towns which are so important as community hubs and drivers of the local economy.
“Larger rural towns will also benefit hugely from the €2 billion Urban Regeneration Fund. In addition to this, Project Ireland 2040 contains massive investment in rural Ireland across all Government Departments. For example, €4.5 million will be invested in local and regional roads which are vital to rural life.
“There will also be over €8.4 billion invested in a school building programme for our primary and secondary schools,” Minister Ring said.
See projected spend in Department of Rural and Community Development under Rural Regeneration Fund over the next four years:
2018 – €88 million
2019 – €141 million
2020 – €150 million
2021 – €152 million
2022 – €175 million