Mr Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, today (1 July) published the Fourth Progress Report of the Action Plan for Rural Development.
The Action Plan contains a wide range of measures aimed at supporting the economic and social progress of rural Ireland, and is being delivered across Government Departments, State agencies, and other bodies.
The Fourth Progress Report provides an update on the status of actions delivered between July and December 2018. A number of case studies also feature in the report, which illustrate the positive impact the measures being delivered are having on rural communities. Of the 277 actions reported on, 268 have been completed or are substantially advanced.
Speaking today, Minister Ring said:
“The Action Plan for Rural Development has been a key vehicle for implementation of the Government’s support for rural development since it was launched in January 2017. The Plan was the first ever whole-of-Government approach to supporting the economic and social progress of rural Ireland. In the short period since the Plan was launched, much progress has been made in the delivery of individual actions, as outlined in this Progress Report.
“Additional measures have also been taken to support rural Ireland since the Action Plan was launched. Under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Strategy, investment is taking place right across Government to support rural communities and rural businesses. This investment is driving job creation, improving access to services, and enhancing the quality of life in rural Ireland.”
Some of the key impacts highlighted in the Action Plan Progress Report include:
• Employment in rural areas continues to grow. In 2018, more than 60% of the new jobs created by Enterprise Ireland’s client companies were outside of the Dublin region, while 58% of jobs in IDA client companies are now based outside of Dublin.
• Programmes such as LEADER, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, and CLÁR continue to promote and support vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland. In 2018 alone, €21.3 million in funding was approved for 224 projects under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. Over €38 million in funding was approved for projects in 2018 under LEADER.
• In the area of transport, a total of 65 new evening/night time Local Link services commenced operations in July 2018, on a pilot basis. New routes will continue to be developed nationally throughout 2019 in response to local need.
• €20 million in funding for non-public roads in rural areas was allocated under the Local Improvement Scheme in 2018, with a further €10 million made available for 2019.
Minister Ring continued:
“The progress made under the Action Plan for Rural Development has been further built-on through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which is investing €1 billion over the period 2019-2027 in projects to rejuvenate communities across rural Ireland. So far, funding of €86 million has been allocated to 84 projects. These are ambitious, collaborative projects which will have a transformational effect on towns, villages and rural areas across Ireland. I announced a further call for proposals in April, with a deadline for applications of 6 August. I look forward to seeing more projects coming through this process which will deliver significant and sustainable regeneration in our rural towns and villages and in the heartlands that surround them.”
TheFourth Progress Report on the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development can be accessed here.