The first call for applications for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund closed at the end of September. €1 billion is committed to the Fund over a 10 year period to support rural economic development and help build strong communities with €55 million allocated to the fund in Budget 2019.
290 applications to the Fund were received by my Department, 125 Category 1 applications and 165 Category 2 applications. Applications for the Fund are currently being examined by the Project Advisory Board, made up of representatives from key Government Departments and external experts, which was established to oversee the assessment process. Category 1 "shovel ready" projects were prioritised in the assessment process and Category 2 projects - those which need development funding to become potential Category 1 applications in future calls for applications - are now being considered.
I announced the first 18 successful projects under the Fund on the 23rd November. The projects will receive €24.4 million from the Fund while unlocking a further €11 million in other funding, and all are ready to commence in 2019.
The announcement on the 23rd November was just the beginning of the process and further announcements of successful Category 1 and Category 2 projects will take place early in the New Year with a further call for the Fund taking place later in 2019.