Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Paul Donnelly (Dublin West, Sinn Fein)
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937. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if further funding will be made available to community projects to enable them to open up their buildings with signage, PPE, sanitising equipment and extra cleaning staff. [10489/20]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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My Department is providing vital supports to rural and community organisations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the COVID-19 restrictions are eased in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, our rural towns and villages will have an important role to play in supporting economic activity and in providing safe spaces for people to meet. My Department is considering the appropriate approach for many of its programmes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme has been developed to help our towns and villages to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19. This scheme was launched on 27 May 2020 and includes an Accelerated Measure in response  to COVID-19. 

This measure focuses on immediate interventions that can be delivered in the short-term to assist towns and villages to adapt to COVID-19. It will be administered by Local Authorities who will have the autonomy to identify and develop their own solutions in consultation with local business interests, Town Teams and community groups as appropriate.

The projects funded can be delivered directly by the Local Authority or by a community/business organisation. It is expected that the projects will involve expenditure on supplies and services of a capital nature to adapt to public health requirements. Full details of the 2020 Town and Village Scheme are available at .

The 2020 Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) is also being considered in that context. The CEP funded by my Department provides small capital grants to community groups. Typical projects funded under this programme can include the renovation of community centres, community amenities, improvements to town parks, common areas and spaces, CCTV equipment and energy efficiency-type projects. The CEP is administered by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) in each Local Authority area. 

The CLÁR 2020 programme considers support for interventions that make school/community facility environs healthier and safer for the children attending the schools, and for children and adults using the community facilities.

This measure has been broadened to allow additional investments to adapt areas around schools and community facilities to help meet new public health requirements arising from COVID-19. This measure will be administered through the Local Authorities and applications will be submitted to my Department through the Authorities. It is not open for direct application. The school or facility must also be in a CLÁR area. The scheme outline, including the eligibility criteria for this Measure, is also available on the .

I am acutely aware of the severe challenges facing communities as a result of COVID-19. My Department is continuing to liaise with representatives of the sector and with Departments with relevant policy responsibility in relation to the challenges faced at this time.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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938. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of applications made to the Covid-19 stability fund for community and voluntary, charity and social enterprises by organisations based in County Laois. [10590/20]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government is aware of the challenges facing community and voluntary organisations and is committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these, recognising that it will require a whole of Government approach.

The Community and Voluntary Sector Covid-19 Stability Fund is intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups currently delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. This fund will provide €35million of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

I can confirm that there were seven applications received from County Laois based organisations. Over one thousand applications have been received and as these applications are subject to a verification and assessment process, which is currently ongoing, the final number of eligible applications is yet to be determined.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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939. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of applications made to the Covid-19 stability fund for community and voluntary, charity and social enterprises by organisations based in County Offaly. [10591/20]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government is aware of the challenges facing community and voluntary organisations and is committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these, recognising that it will require a whole of Government approach.

The Community and Voluntary Sector Covid-19 Stability Fund is intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups currently delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. This fund will provide €35million of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

I can confirm that there were sixteen applications received from County Offaly based organisations. Over one thousand applications have been received and as these applications are subject to a verification and assessment process, which is currently ongoing, the final number of eligible applications is yet to be determined. 

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