MINISTER Michael Ring has today launched the second call for proposals under the government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund as part of Project Ireland 2040.
The fund, administered by Minister Ring's Department of Rural and Community Development, will provide €1 billion in investment over 10 years to support the renewal of small towns, villages and outlying rural areas.
Initial funding of €315 million is being allocated on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022. Under the first call €86 million in funding for projects throughout the country was announced, including over €5 million for a variety of projects in Mayo.
Announcing the opening of the second call for the fund, Minister Ring said: “It will help to stimulate renewal and continued development economically and socially in rural areas in Mayo and across Ireland.”
Projects in Mayo which were allocated funding under the first call included:
• GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan
• eight enterprise and digital hubs
• Redevelopment of Ballinrobe
• Digital working hub in Swinford
• Major upgrade of Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park
Seed funding was also allocated to develop:
• Dark Sky planetarium in Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park
• Cycle network from Leenane to Mayo/Sligo border
• Lost Treasures Trail from Westport to Cong
• A geopark in Joyce Country and Western Lakes area
This second call for proposals will focus on Category 1 capital regeneration projects which are ready to commence. Through a competitive process, the fund will support collaborative projects in rural settlements of less than 10,000, with funding available of at least €500,000.
Said Minister Ring: “In this second call, we are also keenly aware of the need to focus funding on regeneration which can address government wide policy priorities, namely supporting communities to face the challenges posed by Brexit, and assisting communities to transition to a competitive, low carbon and environmentally sustainable economy.
“The fund will support significant and strategic investment in capital projects which will strengthen rural economies and communities in Mayo and across this country. Promoting collaboration at a local level, the fund will continue to transform local communities, building their resilience and contribute to the objectives of Project Ireland 2040.”
The types of initiatives which the fund will support in the second call include:
Measures to address infrastructural deficiencies that are instrumental to and part of town and village regeneration;
Measures to address building vacancy to encourage town centre regeneration, including building refurbishment, redevelopment and/or demolition;
Improving public amenity and public realm in towns and villages and the development of recreational facilities;
Projects which deliver on multiple objectives, for example, delivering a town centre regeneration project which also contributes to economic, tourism, community or cultural development;
Projects which take an integrated approach to developing employment opportunities within a town or its environs;
Projects that support job creation, entrepreneurship and innovation;
Development or expansion of tourism initiatives which generate new areas of economic activity and attract increased visitor numbers to rural areas.
The fund will be open to local authorities, local development companies, State agencies, other government departments, philanthropic funders, the private sector and communities. The lead partner must be a State-funded body.
The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 12 noon on Tuesday, August 6. Applications can be submitted electronically on the official application form, which is available on the website of the Department of Rural and Community Development.
It is anticipated that successful projects will be announced in October 2019.
Full details are at https://drcd.gov.ie/about/rural/rural-regeneration-development-fund/.