The first call for applications for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund closed at the end of September. €1 billion is committed to the Fund over a 10 year period to support rural economic development and help build strong communities. €315m is allocated to the Fund for 2019-2022.
There was an excellent response from all across the country, with 280 applications received. A total of 84 projects were successful under the first call - 38 Category 1 projects and 46 Category 2 projects - and support of €86m was allocated from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. The combined value of the projects, taking account of matched funding provided from other sources, totals €117m.
As part of the application process, which was competitive in nature, lead parties were required to set out a detailed project proposal. Project proposals were thereafter subject to a comprehensive evaluation process, involving assessment by my Department under the oversight of an independent Project Advisory Board, established to assist in making recommendations on the suitability of applications for funding. Recommendations were identified based on the assessment undertaken, the observation of Board members, and the extent to which project proposals aligned with the objectives of the Fund.
Successful applicants enter into a contractual arrangement with the Department to deliver as planned. Funding is in principle and subject to completion of final due diligence and oversight of any emerging procurement costs. It is a condition of the approved funding that it must be used solely for the activities set out in the project proposal. If a case were to arise in which a material change was proposed in respect of a project which was selected for funding, my Department should be notified immediately. My Department would then engage with the lead party for the project and formulate an appropriate course of action based on full knowledge of the circumstances.