Total of €72,000 allocated by local Minister to Big Tom Memorial Garden in Monaghan

Kerry main beneficiary of new funding in Rural Future Digital Innovation Programme

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys announced latest round of funding under the Rural Future Digital Innovation Programme on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys announced latest round of funding under the Rural Future Digital Innovation Programme on Thursday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Further State funding of €12,000 has been allocated to the Big Tom Memorial Garden in Co Monaghan by local TD and Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys, who opened the facility last July.

The garden, which is dedicated to popular country singer Big Tom McBride, who died in 2018, has already received more than €60,000 from the Department’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

This latest funding, announced on Thursday, will be used to provide soil sensors and water sensors, as well as sensors to count the number of visitors to the garden, and a Big Tom app detailing the different phases of his life.

Speaking at the opening of the memorial garden, in Oram, Castleblayney, on July 2nd, the Minister said she wanted “to acknowledge the fantastic efforts by the local community in developing this wonderful amenity which will be a lovely place for family, friends and future generations in Oram to gather and remember Tom”.

Monaghan County Council will also receive €1,500 towards the costs of trialling inflatable outdoor screens to test their effectiveness in providing information to the public. The total allocated to Co Monaghan on Thursday, out of the €1,214,267 announced, is €13,500.

These latest allocations , made by the Ms Humphreys under the Rural Future Digital Innovation Programme, involve 20 projects in 15 counties – with Kerry by far the main beneficiary. It will receive a total €476,800 for projects aimed mainly at addressing water quality at its beaches and enhancing the Wild Atlantic Way experience for visitors.

In a move that may have national implications Roscommon County Council has been allocated €17,400 to develop a defibrillator location app which may be extended across the State. It will enable people to immediately locate the nearest defibrillator, saving time in the event of a cardiac arrest.

Benefit rural

In general the projects are intended to deliver local authority-led innovations to benefit rural communities, and include the provision of such as special defibrillator apps, inflatable cinema screens, smart searches, wifi hotspots, tourism apps, smart farming and air quality monitoring.

Among the larger amounts allocated is €163,518 towards the improvement of air quality in Trim, Co Meath, and €120,000 to help fund sensors in dealing with the problem of ring buoy theft in Co Sligo.

Funding of €73,200 has been allocated to Gorey in Wexford for the collection of real-time open data on the town’s environment, infrastructure and activity for research and public use, while €67,560 has been allocated to develop technology to improve ways of identifying potholes and road surface quality in Limerick.

In announcing these allocations today, the Minister said the Digital Innovation Programme was designed “to help us to work smarter in supporting rural Ireland”.

She noted how “in recent years we have seen drones delivering medicine to our island communities. This small scheme is all about giving rural communities the opportunity to trial new technologies which will solve local problems. If it works for one community, it can work for others and we can then look at replicating these models in other areas.”