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Thursday, 17 Feb 2022

Written Answers Nos. 53-72

Departmental Schemes

Questions (53)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

53. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she has considered expanding the senior alert scheme to other vulnerable cohorts in society such as those living alone with a disability; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8601/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department is responsible for the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable them to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind. Funding is available under the scheme towards the purchase by a registered community-based organisation of a personal alarm or pendant. 

Following a review, an updated version of the scheme came into effect in November 2017. A number of changes were introduced at this time, including the provision of free monitoring for the first year and a revision of the living alone requirements. However, eligibility to the scheme remains confined to those aged 65 or older. 

The current version of the scheme came into effect in September 2021 and continues to incorporate these provisions, as well as introducing a new key feature in the additional option of a digital alarm, for use with web based connections.

Community Development Projects

Questions (54)

Noel Grealish

Question:

54. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if funding is available for the construction of new community centres and when the details of a scheme will be announced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8755/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department provides a number of funding streams for the improvement and development of Community Centres throughout the country.  

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) provides funding for the development and construction of large scale capital projects in towns and villages and rural areas across Ireland.  I announced the fourth call for Category 1 applications in December 2021, with a closing date for applications of 29th April. 

Funding for projects may be available through the LEADER Transitional programme.  This will cover the period 2021-2022, and came into effect on the 1 April 2021 for new project applications. The LEADER programme is administered by local action groups (LAGs) in each of the 28 LEADER sub-regional area around the country. 

Separately, a new capital fund for the upgrade of community centres was referenced in the National Development Plan.  Indicative funding of €5m has been secured for this under Budget 2022.  It is envisaged that the capital fund will support the upgrade and refurbishment of existing community buildings in urban and rural areas.

The details of this capital scheme are currently being developed within my Department. It will be launched in Q1 2022, further details will be announced in due course.

Digital Hubs

Questions (55)

Alan Dillon

Question:

55. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the roll-out of connected hubs in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8780/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Our Rural Future, Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025, recognises the opportunity for rural rejuvenation that remote working presents and commits to establishing a comprehensive and integrated network of remote working hubs over the lifetime of the policy to 2025.

A number of funding streams operated by my Department directly support this commitment.  For example, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme both  support the establishment of new digital hubs. Under last year's schemes, projects that bring vacant properties in town centres back into use as remote working hubs were eligible to apply for funding. Projects that repurpose existing community or publicly owned buildings in town or village centres to facilitate remote working were also eligible.

In addition, last year I awarded almost €9 million in funding through the Connected Hubs funding stream to add capacity to remote working infrastructure in digital hubs and broadband connection points throughout the country.  Details of successful applications, including those in County Mayo, are available on my Department's website.

Last May I also launched the National Connected Hubs network together with the connectedhubs.ie platform.  The platform offers a suite of booking and hub management applications to members of the Network. There are currently 189 hubs live on the platform, with this number growing on an ongoing basis. 12 of these hubs are located in County Mayo, with 23 hubs mapped in Mayo for invitation to join the network.

The development of a national hubs network is a key commitment in Our Rural Future and I am committed to continuing my Department's support for the development of remote working hubs in recognition of the vital role that they can play in our post-Covid recovery.  

Rural Schemes

Questions (56)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

56. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will allow discretionary funding under LEADER Food Initiative for projects that were submitted but withdrawn to resubmit with the new parameters of a project to be funded. [8698/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The LEADER Food Initiative is administered at local level by Local Action Groups (LAGs) with overall funding allocated at a national level by my Department. Project applications are in the first instance considered at local level, with subsequent final project approval signed off by my Department on a first come first served basis. As with all funding programmes, there is a finite budget available for allocation under this measure and the funding budget is exhausted.

As the applications for this funding stream were considered on a first come first served basis and only when all relevant documentation was submitted to the Department, in the interest of fairness to all applicants for this funding it is not possible to permit changes to the project application after it has been approved. It is open to LAGs to provide funding to projects, which are withdrawn due to project changes, through their Transitional LEADER programme or EURI project budget allocations.

During 2022, my Department will keep the delivery and drawdown of funding awarded under the LEADER Food Initiative under review and should any unutilised funding become available as a result of this review consideration will be given to running a new national funding call later in the year. 

Rural Recreation Policy

Questions (57)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

57. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the proposed works for the Mell Greenway, Drogheda for which Louth County Council received €200,000 through the outdoor recreational scheme in February 2020; if there are timelines for the commencement of the project; if the funding is at risk of being lost if it remains unused; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8477/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure and for the maintenance and promotion of existing infrastructure. Louth County Council were approved funding of €200,000 under the ORIS 2019 Scheme for the development and enhancement of the Boyne Greenway. However, to date, no funding has been drawn down on this project.

Last year, Louth County Council requested permission to revise the scope of the approved works. This amendment was approved by my Department subject to a Project Implementation Plan being submitted. This plan was received by my Department and indicates an expected end date for completion of works of December 2022.

Louth County Council have recently advised that a Natura Impact Statement is being developed, which is the next step to enable the project to proceed. My Department will continue to engage with Louth County Council with a view to monitoring the targets and timelines set out in the Implementation Plan.

Community Development Projects

Questions (58)

Thomas Gould

Question:

58. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the allocation of Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme funding to Cork for 2022. [8749/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2018 – 2023 provides funding to tackle poverty and social exclusion through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies.

The programme is managed locally by Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) and actions are delivered by Local Development Companies.

SICAP funding of €3.6m has been allocated to Cork for 2022.  This is an increase of €410k from 2021. SICAP is delivered by the following Local Development Companies in Cork City and Cork Count.

Area

Local Development Company

2022 Allocation

Cork City

Cork City Partnership CLG

€1,413,191

Cork Kanturk, Newmarket & Millstreet

IRD Duhallow CLG

€186,134

Cork Charleville & Mitchelstown

Ballyhoura Development CLG

€200,480

Cork Mallow & Fermoy

Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership CLG

€335,988

Cork South & East Cork

SECAD Partnership CLG

€946,137

Cork West Cork District

West Cork Development Partnership Ltd

€362,478

Cork Bandon & Kinsale

West Cork Development Partnership Ltd

€184,920

Cork West Cork Islands

Comhar na nOilean CTR

€34,490

Vacant Properties

Awaiting reply from Department.

Questions (59)

Pauline Tully

Question:

59. Deputy Pauline Tully asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the measures that are or will be in place in 2022 supported by schemes operated by her Department or through statutory agencies to assist persons to bring vacant dwellings back to habitable use as living accommodation in rural areas outside of villages and towns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8702/22]

View answer
Awaiting reply from Department.

Rural Schemes

Questions (60)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

60. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the local improvement scheme allocation for 2022; the number of outstanding local improvement scheme roads by local authority; the value of outstanding roads awaiting improvement; the amount initially sought by Kerry County Council in respect of 2021; the amount that was sought when the local authority was called on to apply for the supplementary fund of €10.5 million; the amounts that were provided in both instances; if all the funding allocated from both tranches of funding that is, €21 million in total was fully drawn down by local authorities; if not, the amount that was not drawn down; the local authorities that did not drawn down same; the amount sought by Kerry County Council for 2022; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8654/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

As part of 'Our Rural Future', the Government is committed to ensuring that the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) is funded into the future. This reflects the important contribution which the scheme makes to connectivity in rural Ireland. The LIS supports the improvement of rural roads and laneways that are not normally maintained by local authorities.

The Local Improvement Scheme was reintroduced in 2017 following a number of years with no dedicated funding.  Since then my Department has allocated €80 Million towards improvement works on over 3,000 non-public roads and lanes. These works have benefitted over 13,300 landowners and residents in these rural areas.

I launched the 2021 Scheme with an initial budget of €10.5 million. This funding was allocated based on the geographical area of each county and Kerry County Council was allocated €689,930.

I was very pleased to source additional funding during the year and I allocated a second tranche of funding totalling €10.5 million to bring the total funding nationally under the scheme for 2021 to €21 million. This additional funding was allocated based on the capacity of each Local Authority to deliver improvement works by year-end. Kerry County Council submitted a request for funding of €706,294 under this second tranche  Applications for the additional funding across the country exceeded the available amount. As a result, the funding was allocated on a pro-rata basis with all counties receiving just over 70% of their requested amount. Kerry County Council was awarded €497,169 under this second tranche bringing the total allocation for 2021 in Kerry to €1,187,099.

Kerry County Council drew down €1,145,874 in 2021. A total of €20.82 million was drawn down in 2021 across all Local Authority areas which represents over 99% of the allocated amount. This resulted in 660 projects being completed in 2021 benefiting in excess of 3,000 landowners and residents in rural areas.

I was pleased, as part of Budget 2022, to announce an increase in the base funding for LIS from €10.5 million in 2021 to €11 million this year. I will be launching this year's scheme in the coming weeks at which point the allocation for County Kerry and elsewhere will be made known. 

While my Department has received an indication of the level of demand in each county, it does not have consistent and reliable data regarding the number of roads awaiting improvement works.  My officials are currently reviewing the process for requesting and collating such data. This is with a view to determining whether a more consistent, timely  and rigorous approach to data collection might be employed across the local authority system to underpin the Scheme and inform allocations to  each county.

Offshore Islands

Questions (61)

Joe McHugh

Question:

61. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if funding will be provided for capital works and other improvements on the offshore islands in 2022. [8454/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Government's objective is that sustainable, vibrant communities can continue to live on the nation’s offshore islands. My Department recognises that for this to be achieved it is essential that investment is made in the maintenance and upgrading of island infrastructure. To this end, I have increased the allocation available for capital works from €2.64m in 2021 to €4.64m for 2022.

This will enable me to approve an expanded works programme this year which will include the annual programme for Minor Capital Works on the offshore islands, which is co-funded by the relevant Local Authorities.

Additionally, island projects set out in Project Ireland 2040 will be progressed.  These include three major harbour projects, namely; improvement works to piers on Inis Oírr and Inis Meáin in Co Galway and at Machaire Rabhartaigh serving Oileán Thoraigh in Donegal. Whilst the 2040 projects are at different stages in their development, they will continue to be progressed as rapidly as possible.

Energy Prices

Questions (62)

Paul Donnelly

Question:

62. Deputy Paul Donnelly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the steps that are being taken to assist charities and community groups with the growing costs in relation to energy and insurance. [8784/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

I am aware of the challenges facing community groups in relation to utilities and insurance costs.  In November 2021 I launched the €9m Community Activities Fund to support community and voluntary groups impacted by COVID-19. 

The fund will support groups, particularly in disadvantaged areas, with their running costs such as utility (Electricity, Heating charges) or insurance bills.  Groups will also be able to use the funding to carry out necessary repairs and/or improvements to their facilities as well as the purchase of equipment such as tables and chairs, tools and signage, laptops and printers, lawnmowers, canopies and training equipment.   The fund is being administered locally by the Local Community Development Committees in each Local Authority area. 

Another support provided by my Department was the COVID-19 Stability Fund. Through the Stability Fund, my Department supported a total of 863 organisations delivering critical services to vulnerable people in 2020 and 2021 with total funding of €48.8m.  The fund is now closed and there are no plans at present for further rounds of the Stability Fund.

Dormant Accounts Fund

Questions (63)

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

Question:

63. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount of funding and number of programmes under the dormant accounts action plan which her Department will be running in 2022; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8529/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Under the Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plan 2022 the Department of Rural and Community have seven measures running in 2022.  These are listed in the table below, along with the maximum approved funding amount as approved within the 2022 Dormant Accounts Action Plan. Funding approved under this plan will mostly be spent in 2022, in line with the €12.57 million allocation available for 2022, but some small amounts may be utilised in future years. Full details of the measures can be found in the 2022 Dormant Accounts Action Plan, which is available at: assets.gov.ie/204353/9d7a32c7-f6e7-4bf4-92ea-6560fbebb716.pdf

Measure

2022 Max Amount in Action Plan

Social Enterprise Measure

€2,300,000

Senior Alerts Scheme

€3,000,000

Targeted Social Inclusion Measures

€720,330

Pre-Social Cohesion Project

€150,000

Supporting public libraries to address disadvantage

€850,000

Participation and Engagement by marginalised and disadvantaged communities in the Local Economic and Community Planning (LECP) Process.

€200,000

Rethink Ireland (formerly SIFI)

€5,500,000

Small and Medium Enterprises

Questions (64)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

64. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a scheme will be made available to SMEs to set up broadband hubs on their premises in addition to the broadband community hubs currently being rolled out nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8687/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Our Rural Future, Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025, recognises the opportunity for rural rejuvenation that remote working presents and commits to establishing a comprehensive and integrated network of remote working hubs over the lifetime of the policy to 2025.

In May last year I launched the National Hubs network together with the connectedhubs.ie platform.  The platform offers a suite of booking and hub management applications to members of the Network. There are currently 189 hubs live on the platform, with this number growing every week.

The National Hub Network includes a diverse range of hubs, services and facilities, thus facilitating companies of different sizes. To date our focus has been to develop a critical mass of hubs on the connectedhubs.ie platform - the focus will now shift to raising awareness of the network to relevant stakeholders, including SMEs/business owners and hub users. Work is also ongoing to consult with hub managers across the country in developing the future strategic direction of the National Hub Network.  

A significant number of initiatives will be developed through the Network including: supporting collective engagement between Connected Hubs and large scale employers; supporting collective engagement between Connected Hubs and Government agencies; and supporting collaborative projects in the Network to drive economies of scale.  

The development of a National Hubs Network is a key commitment in Our Rural Future and I am committed to continuing my Department's support for the development of a comprehensive and integrated network of remote working hubs in recognition of the vital role that they can play in our post-Covid recovery.

Broadband Infrastructure

Questions (65)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

65. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development her engagement on the broadband connection points elements of the National Broadband Plan to date in 2022. [8699/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Public Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are among the first premises for delivery under the National Broadband Plan. They are publicly accessible sites that serve areas without reliable high-speed broadband, including isolated communities in rural areas and on many of our offshore islands. Sites are provided with a high-speed broadband connection which they make available for onsite community use, including for remote work and study.

The Nationwide Public BCP Network will incorporate approximately 300 sites, including 14 offshore islands. To date, 250 Public BCPs have been completed in total, 11 of these on islands.

It is estimated that the current build phase of the Public BCP network will be completed in 2022.  

Once this phase of the BCP project has finished, my Department will begin to scale up the numerous development activities that it began trialing in 2021. These pilot projects include supports for remote workers and students, a suite of digital skills training courses, arts and culture activities including musical instruction and access to national cultural resources, and a range of eHealth and telemedicine programmes.

My department is involved in ongoing engagement with local authority Broadband Officers, BCP managers and the multiple programme providers to ensure that the full BCP network will have access to the suite of programmes currently in pilot phase and to other programmes as they emerge.

I shall continue to support participating local authorities in relation to their BCP development activities this year. This is in addition to significant awards made to BCPs for capital works and equipment purchases under the 2021 Connected Hubs Call which allocated almost €9M last year.

The location and status of all Public BCPs, planned and live, may be found at www.myconnectedcommunity.ie

Rural Schemes

Questions (66)

Emer Higgins

Question:

66. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the local development strategy for the Leader programme; if this will include a review of geographical boundaries; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8606/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The LEADER Programme is one of the key interventions of Our Rural Future, the Government’s Policy for rural development launched last year.

The programme is based on a community-led approach to rural development and plays an important role in supporting communities and enterprises in progressing job creation, social inclusion and environmental projects at local level.

The draft CAP Strategic Plan, which includes LEADER, was submitted to the EU Commission by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at the end of December 2021.  The process of negotiating and agreeing the plan with the EU Commission has thus commenced. 

The preparations for the design and delivery of the next programme are underway. This includes ongoing engagement by my officials with relevant stakeholders. Decisions relating to all aspects of the programme, including the question of geographical boundaries, will form part of the new programme design phase.

In addition, a Local Development Strategy selection process will be conducted which will be open and transparent with the successful applicants being awarded Local Action Group(LAG) status. It is envisaged that this selection process will consist of two separate stages providing the opportunity for interested entities to apply for LAG status.

Public Transport

Questions (67)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

67. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the way her Department has engaged with and fed into the recently launched Connecting Ireland transport incentive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8611/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Our Rural Future 2021-2025 is the Government's national rural development policy. It setsout an ambitious blueprint for the development of, and investment in, rural Ireland over a five-year period.

It is a whole-of-Government policy, and the more than 150 measures set out within it are being delivered by the Departments with responsibility for the relevant policy areas, including the Department of Transport.

Our Rural Future was developed following extensive consultation with rural stakeholders and communities, and issues of rural transport provision featured strongly in those discussions. The policy was developed on the basis of these consultations, leading to a strong focus on improving the provision of transport and other services in rural areas.

Publication of the first Our Rural Future Progress Report, which will provide updates on actions detailed in the policy's 2021 Work Programme, is imminent. These include rural transport measures such as the expansion of Local Link services in counties Kerry, Leitrim and Laois-Offaly, investments in greenways and active travel infrastructure, as well as other public transport upgrades.

One dedicated action relates to the Connecting Ireland consultation process and the proposal to expand the public transport network in rural areas and to increase service levels.

My Department is currently developing the Our Rural Future 2022 Work Programme.  My Officials have met bilaterally with a range of Departments as part of this process, including a dedicated meeting with the Department of Transport, which included consideration of discussion further rural transport measures that can be delivered in 2022 and included in the Work Programme.  My Department expects to continue this engagement during the lifespan of Our Rural Future, to support the measures for delivery and the Department of Transport’s own strategy development.

Offshore Islands

Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 36.

Questions (68)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

68. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will advise on the development of the forthcoming islands strategy; the status and estimated timeline for completion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8608/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government is committed to publishing a 10 year policy on island development with associated 3 year action plans. Work on the policy is well underway and my Department has now completed the bilateral meetings with all relevant Government Departments. The bilateral meetings have provided an opportunity for frank discussion of the issues raised by island communities and for Departments to assess how they might help address the various issues raised.

The Interdepartmental Committee for the Islands held its most recent meeting on Monday 29th November 2021, during which the participating Departments reviewed progress on the policy development and agreed the next steps to be taken. It was agreed at this meeting that the various Departments would submit a list of action points that they could undertake to further enhance the future development and sustainability of communities on our offshore islands

Work has begun on an initial draft of the policy document and I understand that, based on the development work to date, a draft is expected to be ready for my consideration by the middle of this year.

Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 36.

Urban Development

Questions (70, 81)

Alan Farrell

Question:

70. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the role of town regeneration officers under the town centre first scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8759/22]

View answer

Steven Matthews

Question:

81. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the position regarding the allocation of town regeneration officers under the town centre first policy; and the way these roles will be allocated, funded and utilised to further this policy objective. [8613/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 70 and 81 together.

The Government recently published Town Centre First - A Policy Approach for Irish Towns.  This publications represents a major new policy that aims to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction and breathe new life into our town centres.  It  contains 33 actions which will give our towns the tools and resources they need to become more viable and attractive places in which to live, work, socialise and run a business.

Action 3 of the new policy refers to the provision of Town Regeneration Officers (TROs). The TROs will be appointed in local authorities to drive the implementation of Town Centre First. Town Regeneration Officers will be crucial to managing the implementation of the policy at a local level and ensuring the development and implementation of Town Centre First plans. The role of the Town Regeneration Officers is outlined in Appendix 6 of the policy and includes supporting and building the capacity of the Town Teams.

I was delighted to secure additional funding for of €2 million for these posts in Budget 2022. As a result, it is envisaged that a Town Regeneration Officer will be appointed in local authority areas across the country.  The officers will be responsible for delivery of the Town Centre First policy across the local authority area rather than being assigned solely to an individual town. Given the focus of the policy on the regeneration of our towns, it is not envisaged at this time that such officers will be appointed in respect of the five city metropolitan areas. These areas will, of course, continue to be supported through funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund delivered by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Community Development Projects

Questions (71)

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

Question:

71. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the community services programme; if the programme adequately supports initiative and social enterprises in both urban and rural areas; the details of same specifically in relation to the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8530/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department's Community Services Programme (CSP) supports over 420 community organisations nationwide in both rural and urban areas, to provide local services through a social enterprise model.

The CSP provides an annual co-funding contribution of €19,033 for each fulltime equivalent (FTE) position being supported, and, where warranted, provides €32,000 towards the cost of employing a manager.  

Qualifying organisations must be social enterprises capable of generating income from their activities in order to meet the full salary costs of the supported posts, for example, from income received from the public use of facilities and services. 

In 2020, an independent review of the CSP was undertaken by Indecon International Economic Consultants, on behalf of my Department.  The final report was published on 30 September 2020 accompanied by a high level action plan outlining the timeline for the phased implementation for the restructuring of the programme. My Department and Pobal, who administer the programme on behalf of my Department, are currently working on the restructuring of the Programme in conjunction with the CSP Consultative Group. 

Pending the transition to the new restructured programme, the scheme is closed to new applications.   However, there are a number of organisations with plans currently under consideration and if approved, they will be supported under the programme during 2022. In addition, it is anticipated that the Programme will open calls to address identified gaps in service delivery later this year.  

My Department's CSP currently supports five organisations that provide supports/services in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area.  These received funding of almost €1.2m in 2021, supporting 8 managers and 44.5 FTE positions (set out in the table below for ease of reference), with contracts extended to 31 December 2022. 

Full details of all CSP supported organisations are available on Pobal's website.

Grantee Name

Primary Service Type 

Managers

FTE's

Total CSP 2021 Allocation 

St. Josephs Boys Afc Company Limited By Guarantee

Sporting facilities/halls

1.0

6.0

 €          173,079.92

Deilg Inish Theatre Company Company Limited By Guarantee

Tourist/Heritage Centre/Exhibition

1.0

6.0

 €          153,752.04

Mounttown Community Facility Company Limited By Guarantee

Community centre / HUB

1.0

2.0

 €            88,762.68

Accessible Community Transport Southside

Transport services for people with disabilities

1.0

13.5

 €          316,849.80

Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education & Training Board

Sporting facilities/halls

4.0

17.0

 €          466,560.00

 

 

8

44.5

€         1,199,004.44

Digital Hubs

Questions (72)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

72. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the amount of funding provided by her Department nationally and for County Wexford under the connected hubs programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8476/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department operates a number of schemes that focus on projects supporting the development of remote working hubs as outlined in Our Rural Future Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025. 

To date, approximately €100m has been provided by my Department through various funding streams to support the development of digital hubs and remote working facilities across Ireland. 

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme both support the establishment of digital hubs. Under last year's schemes, projects that bring vacant properties in town centres back into use as remote working hubs were eligible for funding. The repurposing of existing community or publicly owned buildings in town or village centres to facilitate remote working were also eligible application themes.

Last year I awarded almost €9 million in funding through the Connected Hubs funding stream to more than 100 applicants from all across the country. Over €319,000 of this funding was awarded to projects in Wexford, and a list of successful applicants is available on my Department's website. 

My Department also supports the development of the Connected Hubs Network - www.connectedhubs.ie, The National network offers a suite of booking and hub management applications to its members. The Network will also facilitate the sharing of innovation, experience and best practices across the community. These supports will serve to maximise benefit to member hubs, hub clients, employers, local communities and the wider economy. There are currently 189 hubs live on the platform, with this number growing every week.

The development of a national hubs network is a key commitment in Our Rural Future and I am committed to continuing my Department's support for the strategic development of remote working hubs in recognition of the vital role that they can play as key economic assets in our post-Covid recovery.  

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