Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland. It includes a detailed capital investment plan for the next ten years, the National Development Plan 2018-2027, and the National Planning Framework which outlines the broader policy principles and priorities in planning for future population and economic growth to 2040.
As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has provided an additional €1 billion for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund over the period 2019 to 2027. The Fund will provide investment to support suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas which will deliver on the aims of Project Ireland 2040 and achieve sustainable economic and social development in these areas.
The Fund's key criteria, which proposals for funding must demonstrate in order to receive support, are specifically designed to deliver on the strategic outcomes of Project Ireland 2040 - most notably strengthened rural economies and communities. The applications received under the first call from the Fund, which closed in September, are being assessed in accordance with the aforementioned strategic outcomes and key criteria and the first 18 successful projects which I announced last month will, I believe, deliver fully on the objectives of Project Ireland 2040. Further successful projects will be announced early in the New Year with a second call for applications under the Fund to follow later in 2019.
In terms of the other capital funding schemes administered by my Department, such as the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, the Community Enhancement Programme and CLÁR, the criteria underpinning funding decisions are tailored to the objectives of the relevant scheme, all of which are consistent with the strategic outcomes set out in Project Ireland 2040.
While the LEADER Programme 2014-2020 is governed by regulations established by the European Union, the themes of the programme - Economic Development, Enterprise Development and Job Creation; Social Inclusion; and Rural Environment - are also in harmony with Project Ireland 2040 and will contribute to the achievement of the National Strategic Outcomes.