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Mayo to benefit from Town and Village Renewal Scheme for Rural Ireland – Mulherin

Fine Gael Mayo Senator, Michelle Mulherin, has said that Mayo is to benefit from the newly launched Town and Village Renewal Scheme for Rural Ireland, which aims to revitalise up to 200 towns and villages across the country.

“Today my Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, launched a €10 million Town and Village Renewal Scheme for Rural Ireland.

“This fund is available to Local Authorities to support the revitalisation of rural towns and villages across Ireland. In total €380,000 will be available to Mayo and I urge Mayo County Council to apply for the full allocation of funds available, in order to ensure that communities and businesses in Mayo can benefit fully from this initiative.

“Mayo County Council can apply for grants under this scheme for up to eight separate town/village projects. They will need to submit outline plans to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in September for approval.

“The funding available to Mayo County Council is designed to meet up to 85% of the total cost of each project. The Council will then be required to partner with local businesses and local communities to develop and implement ideas that can make a real and lasting impact in revitalising our local rural towns and villages.

“This is a welcome step to help towns and villages in rural Ireland. I recently suggested my own proposal for market town regeneration and repopulation, which suggested a number of measures including:
• Tax breaks for those who invest in refurbishment or conversion of existing buildings to residential or the construction of residences on infill plots in market towns.
• Shrinking the extent of zoned commercial property significantly and what remains zoned commercially should be focussed around the town core.
• An evaluation of Architectural Conservation Areas in market towns to identify the historic town centre and buildings of architectural significance which give a town its character and heritage.
• An analysis of current service provision in small towns should be conducted and gaps identified and trade/services given incentives to locate e.g. banking, post office, dentist, doctor etc.

“Minister Michael Noonan has agreed to examine my proposal. I have also spoken with Minister Simon Coveney and I would be hopeful that he will agree to put in place some pilot projects.

“The economic crash which occurred after years of Fianna Fáil led Government really left its mark on small towns and villages across rural Ireland. We have seen the evidence of it here in Mayo. Thankfully the economic recovery is underway, but many towns and villages in Mayo are still feeling the after effects of the recession. This Government has made sure that rural development is a key priority in the Programme for a Partnership Government and appointed a dedicated Minister, Heather Humphreys. This Town and Village Renewal Scheme is just the start of our work to ensure that all regions of the country feel the benefits of our strong economy.”

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