The Deputy may be aware of The Historic Towns Initiative (HTI) which is a joint undertaking between my Department and the Heritage Council to support Irish historic towns in using their cultural heritage to drive investment and renewal. The internationally recognised practice of heritage-led regeneration shows that heritage can be used to create a desirable place where people can live, visit and do business. Heritage-led regeneration brings economic benefits enabling our historic towns to prosper through increased visitor numbers and decreased numbers of vacant buildings and commercial premises. This initiative is presently targeted at towns with an indicative minimum population level of 1,500 people.
The Town and Village Renewal Scheme, however, operated by my colleague, Michael Ring, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development has a category of funding which includes towns and villages with a population under 1,500 people. It is a key part of this Government's Action Plan for Rural Development and is part of a package of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland. Further details are available on that Department’s website - www.drcd.ie .
In my own Department, I recently launched a €4.3m fund for conservation and repair of Ireland’s protected historic structures through 2 grant schemes, the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund, both of which are administered through the local authorities. These schemes are provided by my Department to assist the owners of protected buildings and structures with meeting their obligations to care for and safeguard our built heritage. Applications can be made to Local Authorities until 31 January 2020 and both schemes are open to applications for projects across the Country, including in towns with a population of under 1,500. Further details are available on my Departments website www.chg.gov.ie and on all local authority websites.