Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
50. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a facility (details supplied) is suitable for funding under the rural regeneration and development plan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27997/21]
51. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will consider a project (details supplied) for funding under the next round of the rural regeneration and development plan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27996/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 50 and 51 together.
The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was established to deliver on the National Strategic Objective in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities and directly supports the objectives of Our Rural Future, the Government’s 5 year strategy for rural development.
Calls for applications to the Fund are sought under two categories – Category 1 and Category 2.
Category 1 funding relates to large scale ambitious projects with all necessary planning and other consents in place which are ready to commence. I will be announcing the next call for Category 1 applications later in 2021.
I announced the third call for Category 2 applications on the 12thMay 2021. Category 2 funding enables projects that require further development to reach a stage where they are ready to apply to future Category 1 calls. The closing date for applications is 12pm on the 16thJuly 2021.
The application process for both categories under the Fund is competitive in nature and applications can be made by State-funded bodies i.e. Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, State agencies, other Government Departments etc. Lead parties to applications are encouraged to partner with other organisations, including communities, to put forward proposals.
When calls for applications are announced, an application form and guidance document is made available on my Department’s website for those seeking further information. Prospective applicants should always consider the guidance carefully to ensure that their proposal is in alignment with the objectives of the Fund and the stated focus of the call for applications. My Department also liaises with prospective applicants to provide further guidance as necessary.
Applications received are assessed by my Department under the oversight of the Project Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from key Government Departments and independent experts. Once the assessment process is complete, my Department prepares a report setting out recommended projects and my role as Minister is to consider that report and make final decisions in relation to the allocation of funding.