Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions (360)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

360. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of town and village pilot residential occupancy scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50693/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

A pilot scheme to encourage increased residential occupancy in rural towns and villages was launched in October 2018. The six towns participating in the pilot are:

- Boyle, Co Roscommon; Callan, Co Kilkenny; Ballinrobe, Co Mayo; Banagher, Co Offaly; Castleblayney, Co Monaghan; and Cappoquin, Co Waterford.

Funding of up to €100,000 is being made available to each of these towns to assist in developing innovative proposals to encourage town centre living.

It is intended that the lessons learned through this pilot can help to inform the approach to supporting and investing in rural towns and villages in the future. It is also envisaged that the pilot could lead to the development of more substantive proposals for funding from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

Representatives from each of the participating towns have met collectively on a regular basis to discuss the issues that are emerging from their work on the scheme. This included a workshop hosted by my Department in September of this year which also involved other relevant experts in this area.

Officials from my Department and the relevant Local Authorities also discussed progress under the scheme with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Rural and Community Development at its meeting on 13th November last.

A comprehensive report on the issues identified through the pilot, and suggested courses of action, is currently being produced for my Department. I expect to receive a draft of that report later this month.