The RRDF seeks to support ambitious and strategic projects that have the potential to transform rural economies and communities. The Government has committed €1 billion over ten years to the fund, with €315 million allocated to it for the period 2019 to 2022, inclusive. Following the conclusion of the first call to the fund in February 2019, a total of 84 successful projects had been announced, with funding of €86 million provided. This funding supported a total investment of €117 million by the projects in rural areas.
Following the announcement of the successful projects, my Department engaged with each lead party to complete due diligence requirements. Contractual arrangements were also drawn up, with the release of funding based on the achievement of key milestones in the projects. In that regard, significant progress is being made in the implementation of successful projects, a number of which have met their first milestone and had funding released. To date, €1.722 million has been drawn down from the fund by seven separate projects. I expect payments to accelerate significantly in the coming weeks and months as further milestones are achieved across all 84 projects.