Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
584. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount allocated by her Department for urban and rural development and renewal purposes in the past three years to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28272/21]
585. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount allocated by her Department for urban and rural development and renewal purposes in the past three years to date in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28273/21]
588. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the beneficial impact to date arising from financial support allocated by her Department to statutory and or voluntary groups throughout the country in cases in which communities might experience social and or economic deprivation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28276/21]
592. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which her Department continues to revitalise all parts of the country urban and rural with a view to enhancing the ability to contribute to an evenly spread development in terms of jobs and investment nationwide; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28280/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 584, 585, 588 and 592 together.
A vital part of the Department for Rural and Community Development's mission is to support the creation of vibrant and sustainable communities across this country, including in County Kildare.
My Department provides strategic interventions, funding programmes and supports which target and address issues of social and or economic deprivation in rural and urban communities throughout the country. In the present COVID-19 environment the supports provided by my Department to assist vulnerable communities are more important than ever.
My Department funds a range of programmes and schemes to assist in rural and community development which are available to eligible community groups and organisations throughout the country.
My Department was allocated €341 million in the 2021 Revised Estimates, this ensures that we are in a position to further assist communities seeking funding and other supports for important local activities and projects.
The amount allocated by my Department for urban and rural development and renewal purposes in the past three years to-date is €251 million in 2018, €315 million in 2019, €314 million in 2020, and €106 million to date in 2021. Kildare was allocated €4.2 million in 2018, €10.9 million in 2019, €7.6 million in 2020 and €2.8 million to date in 2021.
This funding includes the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), the Community Services Programme, the CLÁR Programme, the Community Enhancement Programme, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and funding for public libraries across the country.
My Department is also responsible for a number of national policies that provide, for both urban and rural areas nationwide, an integrated and strategic way of delivering supports, programmes and schemes, coordinating measures to address imbalances or lack of opportunity, making a real difference to people’s lives. These include the National Policy on Social Enterprise, and the Strategy to Support the Community & Voluntary Sector in Ireland.
The new national rural development policy Our Rural Future, which I launched in March last, sets out a blueprint for the development of rural Ireland over the next five years. The policy is supported by 150 commitments across Government, which will address the challenges facing communities and deliver new opportunities for people living in rural areas.
Delivery of the measures contained in the policy will help rural Ireland to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, enable long-term development of rural areas, and create more resilient rural economies and communities for the future. The policy highlights the interdependence of rural and urban areas, and the integral role of rural Ireland in contributing to balanced regional development in terms of jobs and investment.
The policy will be underpinned by investment across Government in areas such as the roll out of high-speed broadband, remote working facilities, job creation, town centre regeneration, community development, improvements in regional and local roads, new cycling and walking infrastructure, expanded rural transport services, funding for tourism, culture and heritage projects, and a just transition to a climate-neutral society.
Ongoing dialogue over the course of the five year policy timeframe will ensure that rural communities are at the heart of designing and delivering responses that meet local needs.
I am confident that the funding supports and policies provided by my Department are delivering, and will continue to deliver, tangible benefits for both urban and rural communities, supporting economic development, and enabling the local and community development sectors to continue to provide valuable much needed services and supports to all communities throughout the country.