Government to give €30m to revitalise rural towns, villages
Package to boost ‘attractiveness, sustainability’ of rural communities
The Government is announcing a €30 million package to help revitalise rural communities worst hit by the recession.
The funding from the scheme, which is part of the Capital Spending Plan, will be used to revitalise the “attractiveness and sustainability” of towns and villages.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government was committed to making sure rural areas benefitted from the economic recovery.
“€30 million is a recognition of potential here, it’s not going to solve all the problems by any means,” he said.
He conceded that it is “inevitable” that urban areas will recover quicker than rural ones following the recent recession.
Mr Kenny said there was something of a two-tier recovery going on with urban areas growing much faster than rural ones.
“While the recovery is significant, its benefits are not yet being felt as deeply in rural communities as in large urban areas and to some extent that is inevitable,” he said.
“What is important, now, however, is to take positive action to make sure that these benefits start to spread more widely and that they do not remain confined to our cities and other large urban areas.”
Speaking at a press conference at the National Ploughing Championships, Mr Kenny denied that he was now a “lame duck Taoiseach” and reiterated his intention to serve a full second term, but not a third term.
“It makes me state my intention of fighting the election, of winning the election, of serving the next term of Government and handing over our country in a much better state than in which I found it.”
The rural funding scheme will run for six years from 2016. Local authorities will need to apply for the package, which will be overseen by the Local Community Development Committees.
The package will be announced by Minister for Environment Alan Kelly and Minister of State for Rural Affairs Ann Phelan at the ploughing championships in Ratheniska on Wednesday.
Mr Kelly said rural Ireland would not be abandoned by the Government.
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