23/09/2015

Govt To Invest €30m In Rural Towns And Villages

The Government is to invest €30m in rural towns and villages between 2016 – 2021, Ministers Alan Kelly and Ann Phelan announced on Tuesday.

The new scheme will support the revitalisation of rural towns and villages with the aim of improving the living and working environment in rural communities and enhancing their potential to support increased economic activity into the future.

Speaking at the Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois, Minister Kelly said: "We recognise all too well the contribution that rural communities have made to overall national economic development, as well as to the development of their own local areas.

"Rural areas make a significant contribution to the production of the natural resources and activities which drive significant elements of national economic life such as through agriculture, food, tourism, construction materials and energy, to mention but a few. Developing and maintaining a vibrant rural economy is therefore, of major national importance as well as of particular interest to the significant communities involved. Rural Ireland will not be abandoned by this Government.

"Government is committed to implementing a strategy for rural regeneration on the basis of an inclusive approach to sustainable development, the integration of policies, a regional dimension and partnership with the rural community".

Minister Phelan outlined broadly the focus of the scheme: "The central aim of the scheme is to support the revitalisation of our towns and villages in order to improve the living and working environment of their communities and increase their potential to support increased economic activity into the future.

"To this end the scheme will, among other things, seek to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of our towns and villages as places to live and work. It will build upon other programmes the Government will be supporting in the years to come, such as my Department's LEADER Programme, which will also see some €250m invested in rural Ireland."

(MH/LM)

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