Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Ceisteanna (188)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

188. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if European regional funding will be available under rural community funds or under the BMW regional fund to enable refurbishment works be carried out at the railway station at Thomastown, Killucan, County Westmeath to enable it to be reopened to facilitate the passengers who wish to utilise the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The question of reopening any railway station is a matter for Iarnród Eireann in the first instance, and I am aware that the Deputy has raised the issue of Killucan station with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the past.

I understand that the regional fund the Deputy is referring to is the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as delivered through the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Operational Programme.

Policy responsibility for the ERDF comes under the remit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, while the BMW Regional Operational Programme is managed by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly. My Department has no role in relation to these funds and I would refer the Deputy directly to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform or the Regional Assembly for further information in this regard.

As far as my own Department is concerned, funding might potentially be available through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) or the LEADER Programme, depending on the exact nature of the investment required.

The RRDF supports ambitious and strategic projects which have the potential to transform rural economies and communities. The Government has committed €1 billion over 10 years to the Fund.

The Fund operates on a competitive basis and it would not be appropriate for me to give a view on the merits or otherwise of any individual project which may seek support from the Fund.  I am currently considering the focus of the second call for proposals under the Fund and I hope to make an announcement on this shortly. Full details on the RRDF can be found on my Department’s website at: drcd.gov.ie/about/rural/rural-regeneration-development-fund/.

LEADER is a multi-annual programme covering the period 2014-2020 which is delivered through Local Action Groups (LAGs) in each of the 28 LEADER sub-regional areas around the country. Funding can be provided under a broad range of themes, including enterprise development and social inclusion. In order for a project to be eligible for LEADER funding, it must be compatible with the actions outlined in the approved Local Development Strategy for the relevant LEADER area, and it must comply with the Operating Rules and EU Regulations in place for the programme. 

It is unclear from the information provided if the proposed project would be eligible for funding under the LEADER Programme.  I would advise the Deputy to contact the Local Action Group in Westmeath in the first instance, through its Implementing Partner, Westmeath Community Development Ltd., to discuss the specific details of this case.

The contact details for the Implementing Partner are as follows:

Address: Westmeath Community Development Ltd,

Mullingar E.T.I. Centre,

Mullingar Business Park,

Mullingar,

Co Westmeath.N91 X012

Phone: 044 934 8571

Email: info@westcd.ie