There has been mixed reaction to the news that Roscommon County Council has been allocated €380,000 towards the revitalisation of eight towns and villages.
The scheme, which was formally launched by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys this morning aims to improve the living and working environment in rural areas and to provide a ‘sustainable and visible impact’. It will also enhance their potential to support increased economic activity into the future.
For 2016, the scheme will focus on towns with populations of less than 10,000 people, with a particular emphasis on towns and villages with less than 5,000 people. At least half of the projects and funding must focus on towns with populations of under 5,000 people.
Local Minister Denis Naughten has welcomed the news saying “We have all seen the devastating effects the downturn had on rural communities and it is vital that we invest in our small towns and villages and revitalise these areas and to ensure they remain at the heart of social and commercial activity.”
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has described the sum as “a drop in the ocean” adding “the Government will have to commit far more resources if it wants to show that it is serious about the revival of rural Ireland.”
Deputy Fitzmaurice continued “As far as I can see this is window dressing so as the Government can say that it is doing something to revive rural Ireland. But there are far more serious issues to be addressed like poor mobile phone signals, broadband, health issues and many more, and the Government will have to do better than this to show that they are serious about addressing the economic imbalance that exists in the country between the east coast and Dublin in particular and rural Ireland” he concluded.
Roscommon County Council will submit outline plans to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in September for approval. Funding will be released to Roscommon County Council in October, once projects are approved by the Department.
Funding will be allocated to meet up to 85% of the total cost of each project. The minimum grant for any single project is €20,000 and the maximum is €100,000.