Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Questions (153)

Bernard Durkan


153. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development when the next tranche of grant aid will be awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23030/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department delivers a variety of programmes that provide financial supports to rural and urban communities. The application periods for these programmes vary and full details of all relevant dates and deadlines can be found on the Government of Ireland website, Funding announcements are made following the processing and evaluation of applications in accordance with the criteria set out in respect of each programme.

The LEADER Programme is a multi-annual funding programme from 2014-2020. Decisions to approve a project, or otherwise, are a matter for the Local Action Groups (LAGs) which administer the programme in each LEADER area. Interested applicants should, in the first instance, contact the relevant LAG through its Implementing Partners to discuss the funding that may be available. Funding can be provided under a broad range of defined themes, which include enterprise development and social inclusion. Contact details for all LAGs are available on the website at

The Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) deadline for receipt of applications for 2019 in most Local Authority areas is 30 May. The CEP is managed by Local Community Development Committees in each Local Authority area. Applications should check with their LCDC for details regarding the CEP, including the closing date, in their area.

Some €46m is available under the Community Services Programme (CSP) in 2019. The CSP supports around 400 community organisations, with funding provided as a fixed annual contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. Expressions of Interest are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year, with funding for new organisations considered, in light of available budgets, during the year and subject to their suitability with the programme criteria.

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure or the necessary maintenance, enhancement or promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in Ireland. I launched the 2019 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme on Friday 29 March. The closing date is 31 May.

The Walks Scheme covers 39 trails, with payments to approximately 1,900 private land-holders to maintain those trails. In line with the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to increase the number of walks covered by the scheme, funding for the scheme was doubled in Budget 2019 - from €2 million to €4 million. Expression of Interest Forms are available on the website.

I have allocated €86 million in support for 84 projects worth €117m under the first call applications for the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. The Second Call for applications under the Fund opened on 12 April 2019 and closes on 6 August 2019. As with the 1st call funding announcements will be made in each case when applications have been processed and evaluated.

Almost €53 million has been approved under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for more than 670 projects since 2016. For 2019, the main focus of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will be on public-realm type activities and the enhancement of town centre amenities. Building on the pilot scheme I launched in October 2018, measures to encourage town centre living will also be welcome. Details of the 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme which was launched on 16 April 2019 are on and closing date for receipt of applications is 28 June 2019.

The CLÁR programme provides funding for small infrastructural projects in specific designated rural areas that have experienced significant levels of depopulation. I launched the 2019 programme on 28 February and the application period closed on 25 April 2019.

Calls for proposals under the 2019 CLÁR programme were invited under the following measures:

Measure 1: Support for Schools/Community Safety Measures

Measure 2: Play Areas (including MUGAs)

Measure 3: Community Wellbeing Supports, comprising of: 3(a) First Response Support; 3(b) Mobility and Cancer Care Transport; and 3(c) Sensory Gardens

My officials are currently assessing all applications received and I hope to be in a position to announce the successful 2019 CLÁR projects in the coming weeks.

Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 152.