‘Right projects’ in County Limerick can access €1bn Rural Development Fund

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan Picture: Sportsfile

Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan Picture: Sportsfile

NO town in County Limerick has been identified for specific funding under the government’s €2bn Urban Regeneration and Development programme for towns with a population of under 10,000.

This emerged last week when details of the programme were released and towns such as Shannon and Thurles were specifically named as eligible for funding under this particular programme. Limerick city was also included in the list of cities earmarked for funding. 

However, it may be possible that towns like Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale, Kilmallock and Castleconnell as well as other smaller towns and villages could benefit from the €1bn Rural Development Fund, provided the right projects are selected.

Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan, welcomed the release of the details of both these funds and of the Climate Action and Innovation and Disruptive Technologies funds, with a total funding of €4bn. This money, he said, had been announced as part of Project Ireland 2040 earlier this year and would be allocated to projects that can show a positive impact in communities across the country.

“I am particularly happy that the  Rural Development Fund, which is important for Limerick, will be administered by Minister Michael Ring and will be aimed at ensuring that rural communities are able to access increased levels of funding over a ten year period,” he said.

One of the objectives of the Rural Regeneration fund, Minister O’Donovan said, was to strengthen rural economies and rural communities by rejuvenating smaller towns and villages.

“The fund will target towns with a population of less than 10,000 people, as well as villages and outlying rural areas.​

“Detailed criteria are now being developed for the first call for proposals which will be announced in the coming weeks,” he added.

The type of initiatives the fund will support will include addressing infrastructural deficits in towns and villages, encouraging entrepreneurship, and enhancing heritage and community assets in rural areas.

Collaboration and collaborative approaches will be encouraged. 

It was, the minister said, about pooling assets and working with communities “to transform our rural towns and villages and their outlying areas.”  

For a project to succeed, it must demonstrate a capacity to add value to other public investments. And there will be a co-funding requirement up to 25%. The first phase will also allow for technical supports for preparatory groundwork for future investments. 

It remains to be seen whether some of this €1bn fund will be available to partnership bodies such as West Limerick Resources which has appealed for an additional €1m to fund a number of shovel ready projects in different communities.