I propose to take Questions Nos. 1072 and 1073 together.
The Town and Village Renewal Scheme aims to support the revitalisation of Ireland's rural towns and villages. In 2020, the scheme was adapted to assist towns and villages to respond to the impact of COVID-19.
I approved over €25.7 million in funding for more than 500 projects under the scheme last year, with the support of an extra €10 million from the Government's July Stimulus package. The approvals included 18 projects with a value of €854,533 in Co. Kildare.
I have secured a budget of €20 million this year for an expanded Town and Village Renewal Scheme. This represents an increase of €5 million, or 33%, on the 2020 baseline figure of €15 million, exclusive of the July Stimulus package funding.
€5 million of the 2021 funding will be used specifically to support the development of remote working facilities at digital hubs and Broadband Connection Points throughout the country. These facilities can play an important role in supporting the revitalisation of town centres and stimulating local commerce.
In addition, I have secured funding of €2 million to enable rural towns and villages to prepare masterplans as a basis for their strategic development. I believe that the development of a shared vision and direction for any town is an essential ingredient for its successful long-term future, and will provide a strong basis for each town or village to seek support to meet its own individual developmental needs.
Full details of the various elements of the 2021 Town & Village Renewal Scheme will be announced when the scheme is formally launched the coming months.