The refurbishment of vacant properties is being addressed through a number of funding streams delivered by my Department, in line with the commitments contained in Our Rural Future.
In April, I announced investment of €81 million for 25 landmark projects for funding under the rural regeneration and development fund. The projects will combat dereliction, increase the vibrancy of rural towns and villages, and regenerate town centre buildings to provide remote working hubs, libraries, e-learning, cultural, enterprise and community spaces.
On Monday, 3 May 2021, I announced the availability of €15 million funding under the 2021 town and village renewal scheme. In line with Our Rural Future, a key focus of this year's scheme is to renovate derelict and vacant buildings in our town centres. I have increased the maximum grant available under the scheme to €500,000 to permit projects of additional scale to be funded. I will also shortly be announcing a new €2 million scheme to fund the development of town masterplans, which I expect will identify strategic actions tailored to address the vacancy and town centre living issues specific to each town.
There is a range of other initiatives outlined in Our Rural Future, which will contribute to addressing vacancy in our towns and villages. In particular, an interdepartmental group has been established to develop a town centre first approach, with a focus on vacancy and dereliction, and to bring forward recommendations to Government. As part of budget 2022, and in the context of the town centre first approach, we will examine the scope to introduce new supports and incentives for the refurbishment of vacant properties to increase town centre living.