I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 and 247 together.
Certain programmes available through my Department may provide the opportunity to access funding for the types of projects outlined by the Deputy.
The National Development Plan provides for an allocation of €1 billion for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund over 10 years to enable towns, villages and outlying rural areas to grow sustainably and support delivery of the strategic objectives of the National Planning Framework (NPF). There are potentially existing Government funding streams relating to sports and recreation infrastructure however there is the potential for large sport-related projects to be supported by the Fund if they meet the strategic objectives of the NPF and the criteria underpinning the Fund itself.
In that regard, the first call for applications for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund closed at the end of September. I announced the first set of successful projects for funding on 23 November 2018 with further announcements of successful projects to take place early in 2019. A further call for the Fund taking place in mid-2019. Full details on the Fund and the application criteria are available from my Department.
The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure or the necessary maintenance, enhancement or promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in Ireland. The scheme seeks to support those sporting and recreational pursuits based on use of the resources of the countryside that contribute to healthy active lifestyles and the economic and tourism potential of the area for both local communities and tourist visitors alike.
Under the 2018 scheme, applications were accepted under three measures:
- small maintenance/promotion of existing infrastructure (up to €20,000)
- medium scale repair/upgrade and development of new small/medium infrastructure (up to €200,000)
- repair/upgrade and development of larger, more strategic projects (up to €500,000).
Projects have now been approved under 2018 Measures 1 & 3, and successful applications are published on my Department’s website.
Funding through the LEADER Programme may also be available for the provision of ancillary services supporting the industry that the Deputy has referred to but not to fund the industry itself. Interested applicants should, in the first instance, contact the relevant local Action Group (LAG) through its Implementing Partners to discuss the funding that may be available.
Contact details for all Local Action Groups are available on my Department's website www.drcd.gov.ie/about/rural/rural-development/leader. The decision to approve a project, or otherwise, is a matter for the Local Action Group (LAG) which administer the programme in each LEADER area.
I should also point out that my Department’s Community Enhancement Programme provides capital funding to community groups to address disadvantage as identified in each area’s Local Economic and Community Plan. It is administered by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDC) on behalf of the Department. Applicants should contact their LCDC for further information.