Thursday, 15 July 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
I thank the Deputy for his question. Given the role of my Department in supporting the economic and social development of rural Ireland, as well as community development throughout Ireland, all of our existing funding schemes support the response to, and recovery from, the pandemic in some way. However, several specific targeted measures are aimed at directly supporting the Covid response and recovery. The main focus has been on community development supports, as reflected in the increase in gross expenditure for that programme area from €149 million in 2019 to €202 million in 2020.
My Department continues to provide Covid-19 supports to communities right across the country. On 6 May, I launched the 2021 stability fund, with an allocation of €10 million targeting organisations that deliver critical services to vulnerable people within their community but now face closure or loss of service due to the impact of the pandemic. This €10 million investment builds on the €45 million stability fund 2020 which supported almost 600 organisations across the country.
The application process for the 2021 stability fund has now closed, with applications appraised and assessed in batches to facilitate timely drawdowns. Decisions will be released on an ongoing basis. I was pleased to announce tranche 1 of successful grantees under the 2021 stability fund on 9 July, supporting 180 organisations with close to €4.5 million in allocations. Further tranches will follow in due course.
The €4.5 million 2021 community enhancement programme will provide vital supports to assist local groups to reopen their facilities post Covid-19. Adjustments to programmes delivered by my Department, such as town and village renewal and CLÁR, have been made where required to further support communities during the pandemic.