The regeneration and revitalisation of our rural towns and villages is a key priority for my Department. Since 2016, my Department has invested almost €93 million in over 1,300 projects under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
A budget of €20 million has been allocated for an expanded Town and Village Renewal Scheme this year - an increase of €5 million, or 33%, on 2020. This increase will allow for the development of remote working facilities in town centres, which will help increase footfall and economic activity.
In the main, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme funds rural towns with a population of less than 10,000 people and the majority of projects have focused on towns of less than 5,000 people.
Under the Government's July Stimulus Package in 2020, additional funding was provided to the Town and Village Renewal Scheme which permitted my Department to fund towns with a population above 10,000 as an exceptional measure, to help them introduce initiatives in response to COVID-19.
The eligibility criteria for the 2021 Town and Village Renewal Scheme are currently under consideration by my Department, and will take in to account the learnings from 2020. A final decision on the criteria will be made shortly, in advance of the launch of the scheme.