Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development and Minister of State, Mr Seán Canney TD Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development today (Thursday 10 October) welcomed the funding allocations made available to the Department of Rural and Community Development as part of Budget 2020.
The overall level of funding for the Department will increase from €291 million in 2019 to €308 million in 2020. This will facilitate the continued delivery of key programmes for rural Ireland and communities across the country; and provide an additional €17 million to support priority areas.
The additional funding will be used to support sectors and communities nationwide that will potentially be most impacted by Brexit, and to enhance supports across the community development area – in particular for disadvantaged communities.
Budget 2020 will:
• Increase investment in the LEADER programme, which supports rural economic growth, from €30 million to €40 million;
• provide additional funding for the cross-border PEACE programme, increasing funding from €5 million to €7 million;
• fund a €3 million package of targeted supports for the community and voluntary sector, and organisations and individuals in disadvantaged communities; and
• increase investment in libraries from €6.2 million to €7.2 million.
Speaking today Minister Ring said: “Given the context in which this Budget was agreed – I think the outcome for my Department demonstrates the Governments continued commitment to supporting rural and community development across Ireland. Maintaining funding for our important programmes and schemes means we will continue to have a strong positive impact on rural Ireland and for communities throughout the country.”
Minister Ring added: “The budget increase of €17 million is particularly welcome and has been provided to allow for a number of targeted initiatives that will help mitigate the impact of Brexit and further build resilience in our communities and across the community and voluntary sector.”
Welcoming today’s Budget announcement, Minister Canney said: “I also welcome the fact that the Department can continue the full range of programmes and schemes – which are making a real difference on the ground. I am delighted to see additional targeted funding for the community development and, in particular, that Government funding will further support local engagement in decision making throughout the country.”
Key measures in Budget 2020:
• The funding provided will ensure the Department continues its range of successful schemes and programmes, and maintain funding levels for these.
• With regard to Rural Development these schemes include the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (€53 million in 2020); Town and Village Renewal (€15 million); Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure Scheme (€10 million); Local Improvement Scheme (€10 million); and the CLAR programme (€5 million).
• The LEADER programme will see its allocation increase from €30 million in 2019 to €40 million in 2020. This programme drives local rural development across three themes economic development, social inclusion, and the rural environment. It invests in sectors such as local tourism development and food sectors – and is vital in terms of helping to mitigate the impact of Brexit on rural Ireland.
• Key programmes in the Community Development area include the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and the Community Services Programme. In 2019 these had an allocation of €43.2 million and €46.2 million respectively. For 2020 this funding is being maintained – with an additional €1.5 million being provided for use across these two programmes to fund some new organisations and to provide targeted supports for disadvantaged communities.
• In addition €1.2 million is being provided to support the implementation of measures in the “Strategy for Community and Voluntary Sector development in Ireland”. This will include enhanced supports for the structures which drive local engagement in decision making – the Public Participation Networks and the Local Community Development Committees. A further €300,000 is being allocated to support delivery of the recently published “National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland”.
• The above targeted investments for community development represent a funding package of €3 million and will assist organisations, communities and individuals right across the country. This builds on strong existing funding – including €12.6 million for supports for the community and development sector and €12.5 million in dormant accounts funding for a range of measures.
• There will also be an additional €1 million for libraries development – increasing funding from €6.2 million to €7.2 million. This will be used to fund investment in new digital technologies and further support the roll out of My Open Libraries.
• Funding for the PEACE programme will increase by €2 million, from €5 million to €7 million. This programme aims to improve cross-community relations and further integrate divided communities in the Northern Ireland and the Border region.
• The funding provided to the Department also facilitates the agencies of the Department, namely the Charities Regulator, the Western Development Commission, and Water Safety Ireland to continue their important work.
Further details on all programme administered by the Department can be found at http://www.gov.ie/drcd