Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for Food Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle, has said that Wicklow will benefit from the newly launched Town and Village Renewal Scheme for Rural Ireland, which aims to revitalise up to 200 towns and villages across the country.
“Today my Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, has launched a €10 million Town and Village Renewal Scheme for Rural Ireland.
“This fund is available to Local Authorities to support the revitalisation of rural towns and villages across Ireland. In total €380,000 will be available to Wicklow and I urge Wicklow County Council to apply for the full allocation of funds available, in order to ensure that communities and businesses in Wicklow can benefit fully from this initiative.
“Wicklow County Council can apply for grants under this scheme for up to 8 separate town/village projects. They will need to submit outline plans to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in September for approval.
“The funding available to Wicklow County Council is designed to meet up to 85% of the total cost of each project. The Council will then be required to partner with local businesses and local communities to develop and implement ideas that can make a real and lasting impact in revitalising our local rural towns and villages.
“The funding can be used to increase the attractiveness of the town or village as a local commercial and social centre, and increase its sustainability as a place in which to live and work. It will help to enhance the local environment and amenity in the interests of residents, businesses and visitors. It could also be used to enhance the culture and local heritage assets of the town/village and promote tourism. Another potential use for the fund is to tackle minor physical infrastructural deficits and land assembly issues.
“The focus of this fund for 2016 will be on small towns and villages with populations of less than 5,000, but there will be some funding available for towns and villages with a population of between 5,000-10,000.
“The economic crash which occurred after years of Fianna Fáil led Government really left its mark on small towns and villages across rural Ireland. We have seen the evidence of it here in Wicklow. Thankfully the economic recovery is underway, but many towns and villages in Wicklow are still feeling the after effects of the recession. This Government has made sure that rural development is a key priority in the Programme for a Partnership Government and appointed a dedicated Minister, Heather Humphreys. This Town and Village Renewal Scheme is just the start of our work to ensure that all regions of the country feel the benefits of our strong economy.”