Mixed picture for rural Ireland with tourism funding and tax hikes

Budget 2020: Rural dwellers say increased taxes leave less money for retrofitting

Minister for Rural Development Michael Ring. File photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Rural Development Michael Ring. File photograph: Eric Luke

 

Additional funding of €9 million for “sustainable mobility” including the development of greenways and urban cycleways, has been included in Budget 2020.

The money is in addition to €11 million announced in January, which covered almost 80 walking and cycling greenways and trails across rural Ireland.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he intended to “invest in the rural transport network” and an additional €3 million would be provided for additional electric vehicle charging points in rural areas and community charging points at apartment blocks and at taxi ranks.

Mr Donohoe said he was allocating an overall €2 billion to agriculture and community development in 2020, including €17 million for rural and community projects. He said the tourism sector was very important to rural Ireland and he was aware of the threat to it from economic circumstances in target markets abroad, and due to Brexit.

Because of this, he said there would be €40 million for “tourism-specific measures” and further assistance if necessary.

Seamus Boland of Irish Rural Link said the Budget had been another missed opportunity. He said many of the measures will hit rural households most.

“Transport and domestic fuel will cost them more”, he said.

Mr Boland added that in many areas, the increased taxation would actually lower a household’s ability to retrofit energy saving measures or to buy an electric car.