I propose to take Questions Nos. 501 and 502 together.
As Minister with responsibility for Rural and Community Development, I am leading a Department whose mission it is to help build vibrant, sustainable communities across the country, both in rural and urban areas.
To do this requires a mix of policy initiatives and actions focused on enabling economic growth and development and to address gaps in meeting the social needs in these areas, thus supporting our communities to become and remain desirable places to live, work and raise families.
Many of these initiatives form part of the Government's published Action Plan for Rural Development and Framework Policy for Local and Community Development which include a range of measures which will contribute significantly to addressing issues in local communities, including financial assistance and other direct and indirect supports.
My Department is currently finalising an implementation plan for the Framework Policy for Local and Community Development and I am confident that the implementation plan will propose actions that will support the local and community development sectors to continue providing valuable services to both urban and rural communities.
In addition, Project Ireland 2040 will help breathe new life into communities across the country, providing access to recreational and leisure facilities, by increasing the attractiveness of communities to visitors and, most importantly, by supporting job creation and employment for people in both urban and rural areas. This includes the €1 billion being invested through my Department in towns and villages across Ireland through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
My Department is also committed to the successful delivery of a range of other schemes and programmes which are greatly benefitting rural and urban communities. Programmes such as LEADER, CLÁR, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Local Improvement Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Scheme, the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme and the Community Enhancement Programme have delivered funding and supports to numerous small and large-scale projects, many of which are identified and driven by local community organisations.
Full details of these and other programmes are available on my Department's website.