Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (308)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

308. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Community and Rural Development and the Islands the funding an organisation (details supplied) can apply for to assist it to remain open in view of the effect of Covid-19 on its organisation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26150/20]

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Written answers (Question to Community)

My Departments Community Services Programme, or CSP, supports community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model with funding provided as a contribution to the cost of an agreed number of full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) (€19,033 per annum) and a manager (€32,000 per annum), where warranted. The organisation in question has been allocated funding of €70,066 in 2020, towards the cost of one manager and two FTEs. My Department has also put in place a CSP Support Fund which provided additional funding to many of the CSP supported organisations including the organisation in question which was successful in receiving additional funding of €1,038 through the Support Fund.

In addition the Community and Voluntary Sector Covid-19 Stability Fund provided up to €35 million from the Dormant Accounts Fund to organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector and Social Enterprises. The Fund was intended to provide a targeted, once-off, cash injection for organisations and groups currently delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. To date, three tranches of successful applications have been announced, allocating funding of over €25m to 489 organisations. This funding is now supporting the delivery of many critical front line services in every part of the country.

Regrettably, some organisations were unsuccessful in securing funding for a number of reasons. I understand that some organisations may be disappointed with the outcome, or may have additional or updated information they may wish to have reviewed. For that reason, there is a Stability Scheme Appeals Process, the details of which each unsuccessful applicant has been made aware of. I understand that the organisation in question is currently engaged with the appeals process and I expect that a final decision will be made shortly.

In addition, the 2020 Community Enhancement Programme was launched in June, with funding of €2m provided towards small capital grants to community organisations. Separately, under the July stimulus package my Department launched a €5m fund for repairs or upgrades to community centres and community buildings. Details are available on the following link.

www.gov.ie/en/press-release/2af76-minister-joe-obrien-announces-details-of-5m-funding-for-community-centres-community-facilities/.

Town and Village Renewal Scheme

Questions (309)

Holly Cairns

Question:

309. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Community and Rural Development and the Islands the funds granted to villages with a population of under 1,000 persons under the town and village renewal scheme by each local authority area between 1 January 2017 and 1 September 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26221/20]

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Written answers (Question to Community)

The specific categorisation of towns and villages requested by the Deputy is not maintained by my Department. Towns and villages applying for funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme are recorded under 2 categories:

- Category 1 - settlements with a population of up to 5,000; and

- Category 2 - settlements with a population of between 5,001 and 10,000.

Lists of all of the towns and villages that have received funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme since it was introduced in 2016 are available on my Department's pages on the gov.ie website.

There is a stipulation in the scheme that at least 60% of funding be targeted at towns and villages with a population of less than 5,000 in each Local Authority area.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (310)

Holly Cairns

Question:

310. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Community and Rural Development and the Islands her plans to increase digital infrastructure and connectivity in County Cork in view of the increased number of persons working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26222/20]

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Written answers (Question to Community)

The provision of telecommunications services is primarily a matter for commercial providers operating in a liberalised market.

Nonetheless, under the National Broadband Plan (NBP), the Government will fund the provision of a high-speed broadband network in areas where it is not commercially viable for service providers to do so. The NBP network, which comes under the remit of Minister Eamon Ryan’s Department, will be rolled out to almost 540,000 premises across the country.

In parallel, my Department has been working closely with Local Authorities to identify Broadband Connection Points which will make free on-site connectivity available to communities in remote rural areas, including in County Cork. The BCPS will be situated in publicly accessible buildings such as sports clubs and community centres and will be amongst the first premises to be connected under the National Broadband Plan.

Over the coming months, approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points will be provided with a high speed connection. The locations of the BCPs are available on the website of National Broadband Ireland, at www.nbi.ie. Many of the BCPs will facilitate remote working.

I firmly believe that remote working has the potential to transform rural Ireland, allowing people to build careers in good quality jobs while continuing to live in their home place.

My Department has been working with the Western Development Commission to build an integrated network of remote working hubs along the Atlantic Economic Corridor, from Kerry to Donegal, which can serve as a model to be replicated in other parts of the country.

My Department has also funded a number of hubs under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in the last two years which will support remote working.