Funding for rural development programmes within my Department’s Estimate for 2017 will amount to €79.27 million. This represents an €18 million (29%) increase on my Department’s 2016 baseline allocation of €61.2 million for those programmes.
The funding for 2017 includes
- A trebling of the funding for the Town and Village Regeneration Scheme, from a baseline of €4 million in 2016 to €12 million in 2017.
- An additional €8 million for National Rural Development Schemes, which includes €5 million for the recently reopened CLÁR Programme.
- €40m for the delivery of the LEADER Rural Development Programme in 2017.
- Increased funding to support Local Authorities to prepare for the roll out of broadband across rural Ireland.
The additional funding will also complement the broader work of the Department, much of which has a positive impact on rural Ireland.
While these initiatives will individually make a positive contribution to rural development, it is their combined impact, along with other initiatives across Government, which will make a real and sustainable difference to rural Ireland. I am currently finalising an Action Plan for Rural Development which will act as a framework for the co-ordination of initiatives across Government to support rural development. The Action Plan will be published in the coming weeks.