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Fine Gael TD for Cork East and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton, has welcomed confirmation that €15 million in funding will be made available for rural towns and villages through the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

Over the next 15 months, up to 200 towns and villages throughout the country will benefit from funding under the scheme, which will be made available through local authorities to support rural regeneration. Up to 80% of the total cost of a project under the scheme will be provided for successful applications. Grants of between €20,000 and €100,000 will be provided although a higher maximum of €200,000 is available for a limited number of projects that can demonstrate an exceptionally strong economic benefit to the area. Projects in a variety of areas including heritage, arts, culture, tourism, tidy towns, recreational facilities, re-use of vacant premises, vacant sites and energy efficiency will be considered. The scheme is specifically targeted at rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000.

“The towns and villages of rural Ireland are the heart and soul of our rural communities and it is crucial that we revitalise these areas. “I want to encourage towns and villages in Cork East to work with Cork County Council in preparing innovative and well thought-out projects under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and I look forward to the announcement of the successful recipients of funding in the coming months. “I know our local businesses and local communities will work hard to develop and implement ideas that can make a real and sustainable impact in revitalising local rural towns and villages” said Minister Stanton.

“In order to avail of funding through the scheme, Cork County Council will be required to advertise for expressions of interest from towns and villages and will select proposals for development into detailed applications to be submitted to the Department by the end of June. The final project selection will be made in July by the Department of Rural and Community Development. Successful projects will be expected to commence by year-end and can run throughout 2019.”

Launched by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, the funding builds on the success of the Government’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme over the last two years, which has already seen over €30 million awarded to over 450 projects nationwide.

The Government’s commitment to supporting rural Ireland is further underscored through the National Development Plan which will see the creation of a new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which will be launched in the coming months by Minister Ring.