Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Questions (934)

Patricia Ryan


934. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the Athy food hub; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3753/21]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

Arising from the first and second calls under the Rural Regeneration scheme, 63 Category 1 projects have been approved for funding of €131 million and 76 Category 2 projects have been approved for funding of €35 million. Category 1 relates to major capital projects that can drive sustainable rural regeneration and development, while Category 2 supports projects that require development funding to bring them to a stage where they are ready to apply under Category 1 calls.

The Athy Food Hub project was approved for funding under the second call for Category 2 applications, which was completed in August 2020. The lead party for the project is Kildare County Council. Following the completion of the due diligence process, the project was approved for funding of €311,159 to develop the project to a stage where it is ready to apply under Category 1 calls.

The third call for Category 1 applications to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund closed on 1st December. My Department received 66 applications to this call and I understand that an application was received relating to the Athy Food Hub project, submitted by Kildare County Council.

The application process for the Fund is competitive in nature. Applications are currently being assessed by my Department under the oversight of the Project Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from key Government Departments and independent experts. Once the assessment process is complete, my Department will prepare a report setting out recommended projects and my role as Minister will be to consider that report and make final decisions in relation to the allocation of funding.

In light of the foregoing, it will therefore be a number of weeks before an announcement of successful projects can take place.