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26 Sept 2022

Over €344 million was spent on community development last year

Over €344 million was spent on community development last year

Minister Heather Humphreys

Over €344 million was spent on rural development and range of town and village improvement schemes in 2021, according to the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Annual Report for that year. 

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys published the annual report today, August 12.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of the wide range of policies, programmes and initiatives developed and delivered by the Department in 2021.

Some key points from within the report include:

·       The Department oversaw spending of more than €344 million in 2021.

·       €169 million was invested in the Rural Development Investment Programme, including the LEADER Programme, Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Local Improvement Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Scheme and the CLÁR Programme.

·       €171 million was provided to communities through programmes including the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), the Community Services Programme, the Seniors Alert Scheme, libraries development and other supports for the Community and Voluntary sector.

·       The COVID-19 Stability Fund supported by Dormant Accounts Funds enabled critical services to be delivered to vulnerable groups during the pandemic with funding of €7 million.

·       The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund continued in 2021 with funding of €84.5 million approved for 25 projects.

·       Our Rural Future, the Government’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 was published in March 2021. The policy provides a blueprint for the sustainable development and investment in rural Ireland over five years to 2025.

·       40,897 passenger ferry sailings carrying 407,051 passengers to our off-shore islands. Cargo services carried over 38,000 tonnes of materials in the same period.

·       Continued implementation of the National Social Enterprise Policy and the five-year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland (Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities). 

Minister Humphreys stressed how vital the funding was. "Throughout the Pandemic, the critical work of my Department helped to support communities right across the country, ensuring that vital services continued to be delivered to vulnerable groups," she said.

"I am proud to see the positive impacts the programmes and schemes under my Department are having in towns and villages.   

"I would like to thank my colleague, Minister of State Joe O’Brien, for his dedicated work during 2021 and to also acknowledge the commitment and invaluable contributions of the staff and management team in the Department, particularly during, what were very challenging times.

 "Yet, through our various schemes and programmes, as well as our rural development policy ‘Our Rural Future’, we are revitalising rural communities and making Rural Ireland a better place to live, work and raise a family," Minister Humphreys said. 

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