Our Rural Future: Category 2 applications to the €1 Billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

Brigid Geoghegan
Brigid Geoghegan • 13 May 2021

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Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys announces call for Category 2 applications to the €1 Billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

  • Funding to support landmark regeneration projects that will transform Rural Ireland
  • Communities urged to put forward projects that will drive economic growth, combat dereliction and breathe new life into town centres
  • Strong focus on converting old buildings into remote working facilities and attracting people back to rural towns and villages 

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (Wednesday, May 12th) announced the third call for Category 2 applications to the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

This Fund will support landmark regeneration projects across the country that will breathe new life into rural towns and villages.

Communities are being urged to put forward projects that will drive economic growth and footfall, combat dereliction, regenerate town centre and heritage buildings, develop pedestrian zones and outdoor spaces and make rural towns more attractive places to live, work and raise a family.

There will also be a strong focus on developing remote working facilities such as digital and enterprise communities, as well as e-learning, cultural and community spaces.

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a key component of Our Rural Future – the Government’s ambitious five year policy for Rural Ireland.

The €1 billion Fund is also part of the Department’s Rural Development Investment Programme, which is funded under Project Ireland 2040.

Projects that will be funded under Category 2 are those that require significant development before they reach the stage of being shovel ready.

They will be projects that can revitalise our towns and villages and attract people back to live and work in rural area – key objectives of Our Rural Future

To date, the Fund has delivered €249 million for 164 projects worth a total of €338 million across the country.

Announcing the call today, Minister Humphreys said:

“Today I am opening the third call for Category 2 applications to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

“I am seeking large-scale, ambitious projects which require development support to enable them to become ready to compete for full capital funding under Category 1 of the Fund.

“The Government's new rural policy – Our Rural Future – has set out an ambitious vision for Rural Ireland and this Fund is one of the key means of realising that ambition. 

“Only last month, I announced €81 million in support from this Fund for 25 landmark projects around the country and it is vital that we maintain this momentum.

“I want to see new projects which match my ambition for rural areas - delivering sustainable growth, greater activity and innovative approaches to revitalising our rural towns and villages. 

“I also want to see projects that will address dereliction and support the Government’s desire to make remote working a permanent fixture in the lives of tens of thousands of our citizens.

“This Fund represents a once in a generation opportunity – I urge you all to be bold and be ambitious with your proposals.”

Minister Humphreys added:

“The investment that is being provided through this Fund is truly transformational in scale.  It is allowing rural communities to transform and reshape their towns and villages and to position them to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the pandemic in terms of remote working and of people returning to rural areas to live and work.

“The development of these large scale projects requires significant resources and the Category 2 funding provided through this call will enable projects to reach a stage where they are developed to a high standard and are ready to commence. This will ensure that there is a pipeline of high-quality, ambitious projects ready to compete for funding in future Category 1 calls from the Fund. 

“I encourage our partners, stakeholders and rural communities to work together to avail of this wonderful opportunity.”

Full details are available on gov.ie

Notes to editor: 

Rural Development Investment Programme

The Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Investment Programme includes a number of integrated funding interventions:

  • Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF)
  • Town and Village Renewal Scheme
  • CLÁR
  • Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme
  • Local Improvement Scheme
  • LEADER
  • Walks Scheme

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was established to deliver on the National Strategic Objective in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities and is also calibrated to deliver on the objectives of Our Rural Future, the Government’s 5 year strategy for rural development. The Fund is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The Fund provides investment to support suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas.

Calls for applications to the Fund are sought under two categories. Category 1 relates to projects with all necessary planning and consents in place and are ready to proceed, while Category 2 relates to projects which require further development to become ready for Category 1 status.

In total the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund has now provided €249 million for 164 projects across Ireland, worth a total of €338 million.

This is the third call for applications under the Fund for proposals under Category 2 which relates to project development and enabling initiatives.

Category 2 proposals should address the detailed development of projects which would enable them to reach Category 1 readiness. 

The lead party to an application must be a State-funded body.  A lead party is permitted to submit a maximum of 3 applications to this call for Category 2 applications. The closing date for applications is noon on Friday, 16 July 2021.

The twin focus of the third call for Category 2 applications is to support projects that can make the best case in relation to:

  • Assisting in revitalising our rural towns and villages through planned and sustainable regeneration projects which will drive greater economic activity and footfall, address dereliction and ensure the re-use of heritage and other existing buildings; and 
  • Providing the necessary facilities and infrastructure in settlements, in terms of remote working, connectivity, town centre residency, economic and enterprise development etc, which will assist in attracting people back to live in rural areas.

Full details of are available on gov.ie