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Press Release

Minister Ring brings #RuralOpportunity to Cork

Published: 15 May 2019
From: Department of Rural and Community Development
  • Event to highlight Government supports available to communities in rural Ireland
  • Information shared on how communities can access funding

Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, was today (Wednesday 15 May) joined by Government colleagues and members of rural communities from Cork and Kerry at a #RuralOpportunity event in Castletownroche Community Centre, Castletownroche, Co Cork.

The event focused on raising awareness of the wide variety of Government supports available to rural areas throughout the region. It also provided advice on how to access Project Ireland 2040 funding for rural, or community, projects.

Minister Ring was joined at the event by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, TD and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD.

Voluntary and community groups from Cork and Kerry, that have an interest in accessing Government supports, were invited to attend.

The audience heard from a number of individuals, from the region, about how funding has enabled them to deliver projects that benefited their communities:

  • Anne Condon, Festival Co-ordinator of the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival in Waterville, Co. Kerry spoke about the support the festival has received from the LEADER Programme. The festival provides a considerable economic boost to the Waterville area.
  • Denis Withers, Secretary of the Banteer Community Sportsfield spoke about how support, through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, will allow for a major upgrade of recreational facilities in Banteer, contributing to the amenity and economic development in the area.
  • Colm Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the company Firebird Heating Solutions told how the company has thrived in a rural area, providing employment to 150 people. He spoke about how Údarás na Gaeltachta helped Firebird in a number of ways, including support with research, development and innovation.

Speaking at the event, Minister Ring said that the case studies presented at the event were inspirational:

“Just listening to the people speak here today about how funding for rural projects is strengthening communities and building resilience has certainly inspired me. All projects start with an idea, getting from an idea to completion takes determination and resilience. The Government is here to support rural communities through a range of funding schemes and I hope that as others hear these stories they will be encouraged to apply for funding for their projects. Right across Government we have made the supports available to assist projects that are sustainable and will make rural Ireland a better place for us all.”

Minister Ring continued:

“This Government aims to support rural projects that improve the quality of life for citizens, create jobs and employment, encourage tourism, promote our culture and the Irish language. These are the areas that are important to build a vibrant rural Ireland and that is what we are doing. Across Government Departments and through Project Ireland 2040 there are a multiple of supports and funds available to those that have a good idea and want to access funding to make a real difference. I always believe that local people are best placed to know where the best rural opportunities exist and what will work in their area, the job of Government is to support where we can.”

The Tánaiste said:

“I would like to congratulate Minister Ring on this wonderful initiative and also for all of his support for projects here in the region. Project Ireland 2040 is a €116 billion investment, over 10 years, by the Government. We are doing this to make sure that as the population of the country grows we have balanced regional development and rural areas are attractive places for families to live.
"This country will face challenges and opportunities from Brexit. The Government is trying to ensure that it has the least detrimental effect on Ireland. Supporting communities and helping them to build resilience, as the Government is doing, is one way to help alleviate any negative outcomes. These rural opportunity events show that we are prepared to support communities to develop in a sustainable and realistic way.”

Minister Humphreys said:

“Project Ireland 2040 has 10 National Strategic Outcomes. My Department in conjunction with the Department of Education and Skills, is responsible for leading the delivery of ‘A Strong Economy, supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills’ and will play a key role in supporting Minister Ring’s Department in the delivery of ‘Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities’. By taking a whole of Government approach we are ensuring equal access to jobs and opportunities across the country.
"This region has seen employment growth exceed the national average for the period 2015 to 2018. Following the success of the Regional Action Plans for Jobs, I launched the South-West Regional Enterprise Plan earlier this year. This plan will build on previous successes and ensure that the South-West region remains economically strong. This and the €10m investment from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund in the area will continue to deliver jobs across the region and provide a framework to address the challenges we face, including Brexit.”

To find out more visit Rural Opportunity.


Note for Editors:

Rural Opportunity themes

In particular, the themes which the campaign will cover include:

  • job creation/enterprise in rural communities, enabling people to work in rural Ireland;
  • improving the quality of life for those living and working in rural communities – reducing social isolation and improving social cohesion;
  • bringing more visitors into rural communities;
  • harnessing a vibrant culture within rural communities and improving the public realm; and
  • assisting a Gaeltacht community facing challenges which other rural communities face and thereby promoting the Irish language.

Background on case studies of projects featured at the Castletownroche Rural Opportunity event

These events will hear from representatives of local rural communities who have successfully availed of supports and delivered a programme or project in their locality. These projects have made a positive impact in terms of community development and resilience, enterprise or job development, tourism development, etc.

Anne Condon, Festival Co-Ordinator at the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival in Waterville, Co Kerry

The Charlie Chaplin film festival is a themed comedy festival which was established in 2011 and run by the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival committee. The group are constantly seeking ways of innovating and growing the festival which provides a considerable economic boost to the Waterville area. In the beginning and every subsequent year it has been grown and developed by a committee of volunteers and has become very successful. The festival is run at the end of August each year and raises the profile of the Wild Atlantic Way and of South Kerry. It is unique in terms of its connection to Charlie Chaplin. The festival consists of a film competition, which takes place each year, but also has events and entertainment to suit all ages. The festival has received support from the LEADER Programme.

Denis Withers, Denis Withers, Secretary of the Banteer Community Sportsfield

This project is located in the village of Banteer, North West Cork. The site is 13 miles from Mallow and 4 miles from Kanturk. The population of Banteer village is 356. However, the surrounding hinterland includes approx. 30,000 people.

This Banteer amenity project was developed with the support of IRD Duhallow over the last 3 years and the necessary design, planning approvals, costing and justifications were concluded. The need for such a facility in this rural part of Cork was a key driver for the project. The project itself will see the development of a multipurpose flood lit regulation sized Astro turf facility in the village of Banteer, which will be available for use by all sports throughout the year. It will be developed on the existing second grass pitch area at Banteer Community Sportsfield and Park. The facility will include an all-weather facility, spectator area and sports pavilion which will encompass changing areas/museum/exhibitor area /café area and a communal area for events and meetings.

This project will provide an all year round recreational facility for the catchment area and the Dunhallow region of Cork and Kerry, and will contribute to the local economy and healthy living. The project has received funding of €1,410,000 from IRD Duhallow CLG and €1,128,000, under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund from the Department of Rural and Community Development under Project Ireland 2040.

Colm Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Heating Solutions

Firebird has over 35 years manufacturing experience in the heating industry, developing some of the most renowned products on the market. The company employs roughly 150 people and is based in Baile Mhic Íre, Co. Cork. ‘Firebird – An Rogha is Fearr’ has received assistance from Údarás na Gaeltachta in the following areas: Research, Development & Innovation; Marketing & Training; Lean Manufacturing and for Capital Equipment.