Rural Regeneration and Development Fund
Project Ireland 2040, which was launched on 16th February 2018, is the Government’s overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland. It includes a detailed capital investment plan for the next ten years, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027, and the National Planning Framework which outlines the broader policy principles and priorities in planning for future population and economic growth to 2040.
As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has committed to providing an additional €1 billion for a new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (“the Fund”) over the period 2019 to 2027 to be administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development with the assistance of a Project Advisory Board, to be comprised of representatives from key Government Departments as well as external experts. The Fund will provide investment to support suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas which will deliver on the aims of Project Ireland 2040 and achieve sustainable economic and social development in these areas.
The objective of the Fund is to support coordinated and integrated projects between Government Departments, State agencies, Local Authorities, other public bodies, communities and, where appropriate, philanthropic funders and/or the private sector. Initial funding of €315 million is being allocated to the Fund on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022.
The Fund supports ambitious and strategic projects which contribute to sustainable rural regeneration and development. It will support investments of scale which would not otherwise be delivered without the additionality provided by the Fund, and projects that are outside the scope of existing schemes. In this context, projects are likely to be multi-annual and multi-faceted, involving a number of elements or phases as part of a broad strategic plan.
Key outcomes will be to support sustainable community and economic development in rural Ireland, including through regenerating smaller towns and villages and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation to support job creation in rural areas.
The types of initiatives which the Fund will support include (but are not limited to):
- measures to encourage residential living or commercial development in town centres including by investing in vacant buildings
- improving public spaces in towns and villages and the development of areas and buildings for community facilities
- projects that support job creation, entrepreneurship and innovation (e.g. development of Digital Hubs, Enterprise Hubs, Creative Hubs, training facilities)
- measures to tackle social disadvantage
- tourism initiatives which attract visitors to rural areas
- improving walking, cycling, and public transport access to and within towns and villages (including improvements to roads, bridges and car parking facilities).
- the provision and enhancement of recreational or leisure facilities