I propose to take Questions Nos. 884 and 885 together.
My Department is committed to the successful delivery of a number of programmes which have provided financial and other supports to community groups and organisations in County Kildare and elsewhere across the country.
The Department has been provided with a gross budget of €294.2 million for 2019 and I intend for this money to be fully allocated through the wide range of programmes and supports under my Department's remit, which focus on ensuring that all communities have the opportunity to grow and develop economically and socially.
I can confirm that, to date in 2019, more than €196 million has been allocated nationally, and I am delighted to say that in excess of €5.4 million has thus far been allocated to projects and organisations in Co Kildare. This follows allocations of €2,891,432 to the county in 2017 and €4,212,415 in 2018.
Funding has been, or will be, made available under each of the following schemes in 2019 to support groups or organisations involved in the social or economic enhancement of their communities:
- The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which I launched in 2018 as part of Project Ireland 2040, supports ambitious and strategic projects which have the potential to transform rural economies and communities. Three projects located in County Kildare were awarded funding of €2,865,500 from the first call to the Fund. The second call for applications to the Fund was launched in April 2019, and will close on 6 August 2019.
- The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme is our country’s primary social inclusion intervention. More than €3.1 million in funding has been allocated through SICAP to Kildare since 2017
- The Community Enhancement Programme, which I launched in 2018, provided funding of €468,671 to projects in Kildare in 2018, including more than €26,000 to Men's Sheds groups. The funding allocation to Kildare for 2019 is €148,013.00.
- The LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) in Kildare has been allocated €5,261,600 to invest in the economic and social development of County Kildare over the period of the programme to 2020. Since 2017, more than €1 million has so far been approved for LEADER projects in Kildare.
- Under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, €936,000 has been approved for projects in Kildare in 2017 and 2018. The deadline for the 2019 scheme closed last month.
- Kildare has been allocated almost €580,000 for works to private and non-public roads in rural areas under the Local Improvement Scheme since I reintroduced the scheme in 2017.
- In 2019, the Community Services Programme is providing funding of some €440,628 towards the cost of employing approximately 17.5 full-time equivalent positions and three managers in five community based organisations and social enterprises based in County Kildare.
- There has also been funding made available for Tidy Towns groups and Agricultural Shows in the county in 2017 and 2018.
Details of all these programmes, including eligibility criteria, how to apply, and other information, can be found on the Government's website, gov.ie.