I propose to take Questions Nos. 695 and 696 together.
The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund provides investment to ambitious and strategic projects that support rural renewal, strengthen and build resilience in rural communities and assist in the regeneration of towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000 and outlying areas. The lead party in an application must be a State funded body.
The Fund seeks applications under two categories. Category 1 relates to large scale ambitious capital projects with all necessary planning and other consents in place and which are ready to proceed. The minimum request from the Fund for Category 1 projects is €500,000. Category 2 relates to detailed project development and enabling initiatives to reach Category 1 readiness. There is no minimum request for funding for Category 2 projects.
The application process for proposals under the Fund is competitive in nature. Applications are 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 submits a report to me setting out projects which have emerged from the assessment process as suitable to be recommended for funding. I then consider that report and make the final decision in relation to the allocation of funding.
It is important to note that success in Category 2 calls relates only to securing grant funding for the cost of project development. It does not follow that any proposal which is successful in any Category 2 call will automatically be in line for funding under future Category 1 calls. Category 2 projects which are progressed to Category 1 readiness will be subject to a competitive application process under future calls. Proposals invited under Category 1 calls are not required to have previously received Category 2 funding.
The third call for Category 2 applications closed on the 30th July 2021 and I expect to be in a position to announce the successful applications before the end of the year. The fourth call for Category 1 applications will also be announced before the end of 2021.
Tables outlining the funding awarded under both Categories are set out at the following links.
[<ahref="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2021-11-16_pq695-696-16-11-21_en.pdf ">Successful Projects Category A</a>]
[<ahref="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2021-11-16_pq695-696a-16-11-21_en.pdf ">Successful Projects Category B</a>]