Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Ceisteanna (191)

Eugene Murphy


191. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans to repopulate rural towns and villages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16978/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Action Plan for Rural Development includes a commitment to developing a pilot scheme to encourage increased residential occupancy in rural towns and villages.  I launched this initiative last October and announced that six rural towns had been invited to participate in the initial pilot scheme. The scheme is being led locally by the relevant Local Authorities, in close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders and with my Department.

The 6 towns which were identified for inclusion in the pilot are:

1. Boyle, Co Roscommon

2. Callan, Co Kilkenny

3. Ballinrobe, Co Mayo

4. Banagher, Co Offaly

5. Castleblayney, Co Monaghan

6. Cappoquin, Co Waterford

Funding of up to €100,000 each is being made available to the relevant towns to develop proposals to encourage town centre living.  This funding will be used by the Local Authorities to engage with communities and local businesses, and identify practical solutions to increase the number of people living in their towns. 

The towns are of different sizes and in different parts of the country, each with their own strengths and challenges.  Therefore, they may well come up with different solutions to meet the needs of their own area.

I expect to receive a report from each of the Local Authorities by the middle of the year on the progress which they have made.  It is envisaged that the solutions identified could lead to the development of more substantive proposals for funding from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund in due course.