Thursday, 14 October 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
248. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she might consider broadening the eligibility for the various rural community schemes operated by her Department in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50292/21]
My Department has a number of nationally funded rural schemes including the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme and the CLÁR Programme.
Each scheme is targeted at addressing specific issues and achieving particular aims and objectives. My Department reviews and revises the various schemes each year to ensure that they are responsive to the changing demands. This includes a consideration of the focus of the schemes and the eligibility criteria.
I will continue to examine the approach to delivering the schemes under the remit of my Department before they are launched in 2022.
249. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she and her Department have assisted towns and villages throughout County Kildare through the town and village renewal scheme in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50293/21]
250. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she and her Department have assisted various towns and villages through the country through the town and village renewal scheme; her intentions in this regard in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50294/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 249 and 250 together.
The Town and Village Renewal Scheme aims to assist with the rejuvenation of rural towns and villages throughout Ireland, making them more attractive places to live, work, and socialise. This year, in line with Our Rural Future, a key focus is to renovate derelict and vacant buildings in our town centres to bring them back into use as multipurpose spaces, remote working hubs or as residential accommodation.
In the last 12 months, funding of €15.4 million has been approved under the main Town and Village Renewal Scheme for 147 projects countrywide, including 4 projects in County Kildare approved for funding of some €440,000.
The Scheme is responsive to the evolving challenges faced by our towns and villages. Last year, a separate measure was introduced to respond to the challenges presented by the pandemic. This Accelerated Measure addressed short-term challenges of increasing footfall and assisting local businesses and communities to adapt to public health requirements. 15 such projects were funded across Kildare, including projects in Athy , KIldare Town, Newbridge and Cellbridge
More recently, the €7 million Streetscape Enhancement Measure was introduced to help improve the visual appearance of approximately 120 towns and villages the length and breadth of the country. This includes Ballitore, Castledermot, Kilcock, Monasterevin, Rathangan and Sallins which were nominated for inclusion in the Measure in County Kildare.
I am confident that the scheme will continue to develop and expand in the coming years in response to evolving needs.