Thursday, 6 December 2018

Ceisteanna (248)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

248. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the progress made on the implementation of the Action Plan for Rural Development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51290/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Progress on the implementation of measures in the Action Plan for Rural Development is overseen by a Monitoring Committee which includes senior representatives of relevant Government Departments and key rural stakeholder interests.

Progress Reports on the implementation of the Action Plan are published twice a year on my Department's website, www.drcd.gov.ie. The most recent report - the Third Progress Report - was published on 26 November and outlines the progress which has taken place in relation to all actions due for delivery between January and June 2018, or which are being implemented on an ongoing basis over the course of the three year Action Plan.

Of the 275 actions reported on in the latest report, 266 have been completed or are substantially advanced. A number of case studies also feature in the report, which illustrate the positive impact the actions are having on rural communities.

The coordinated approach of the Action Plan across Government is achieving benefits in terms of increased employment in the regions and increased investment in projects and communities across the country. Since 2015, there has been an increase of 146,400 in numbers employed in regions outside of Dublin, surpassing the Government’s target of 135,000 by 2020. Significant investment has been made in enterprise hubs, tourism projects, greenways, town and village renewal, and in services such as Local Link transport, to name just a few initiatives.

The progress made under the Action Plan is being further built on through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which will provide investment of €1 billion to revitalise rural areas over the next ten years. I announced the first successful applicants under the Fund at the end of November, with further announcements to follow in early 2019.