I will answer the question on behalf of the Minister, Deputy Ring, because he has been answering questions all morning.
The Tidy Towns competition was originally launched by Bord Fáilte more than 60 years ago. Since its inception, the competition has grown from 52 entrants in 1958 to 883 entrants in 2018. The continued success of the competition is due to the countless hours of effort from Tidy Towns committees the length and breadth of the country. As Minister for Rural and Community Development, Deputy Ring was delighted to be in a position to announce grant funding to Tidy Towns committees of €1.4 million for each of the years 2017 and 2018 to mark the 60th anniversary of the competition. This funding has allowed the committees to prepare better for the annual competition through the purchase or upgrade of small equipment and other materials.
Under the 2017 allocation, 906 Tidy Towns committees received grant funding of between €1,000 and €4,000, depending on the size of their town or village, while under the 2018 allocation, 722 Tidy Towns committees have received similar levels of funding to date, with a number of applications still to be processed. Later this year, the Minister will consider whether he will be in a position to allocate funding to the Tidy Towns committees through this funding stream in 2019. It should be noted, however, that Tidy Towns committees can apply, as community groups, for funding to other schemes within his Department, such as the community enhancement programme, which is administered through the local community development committees, LCDCs. In 2018, 158 applications were approved for funding of €536,816 to Tidy Towns committees under the community enhancement programme.