Ireland gives go-ahead for €1bn rural development fund

The Irish government has confirmed that it will make a €1bn investment over the next decade in the development of small towns, villages and rural areas.

The project is part of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, an initiative launched by the Ireland 2040 national plan, and is intended to support project development before construction.

Local authorities, development companies, state agencies, government departments, philanthropists and the private sector are encouraged to work together on proposals, although a state-funded body must be the leader of any group bidding for funds.

Examples of sectors that could be granted financing include "enterprise, culture, community, recreation or tourism development".

Michael Ring, Ireland’s minister for rural and community development, said: "The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the scale of investment necessary to allow rural communities to continue to thrive and to help achieve balanced regional growth. It is already making its presence felt in rural Ireland.

"With a 10-year fund, it is important that we provide the right support to assist a vision to be developed to the point that it is shovel-ready. There can be significant work involved in getting a project to this point.

"This funding can be used for a variety of purposes including the development of a detailed project design, preparation for the planning process and, if necessary, the purchase of relevant properties or lands."

Applications for proposals closes at 12pm on Friday, 28 February 2020. More information is available here.

Image: Ireland’s government building (Faithiecannoise/Dreamstime)

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