Action Plan having a positive impact on rural Ireland – Minister Ring 

Increase in jobs, tourism, and investment being supported through delivery of the Action Plan for Rural Development

Published 26 November 2018

Michael Ring T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, today published the Third Progress Report on the Government’s 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, being delivered across Government, State agencies, and other bodies over the period 2017-2019.

The Third Progress Report provides an update on the status of actions due for delivery between January and June 2018, or which are being implemented on an ongoing basis over the course of the three year Action Plan. Of the 275 actions reported on, 266 have been completed or are substantially advanced.  A number of case studies also feature in the report, to illustrate the positive impact the actions are having on rural communities.

Speaking today Minister Ring said: “The whole-of-Government coordinated approach of the Action Plan for Rural Development is reaping rewards and enhancing the quality of life in rural Ireland. Our concentrated efforts are contributing to increases in jobs, tourism numbers, and investment for the benefit of the people who live in rural areas.”

Some of the key impacts highlighted in the report include:

  • An increase of 146,400 in the numbers employed in regions outside of Dublin between Q1 2015 and Q2 2018. This surpasses the key objective of the Government to support the creation of 135,000 jobs outside the Dublin region between 2015 and 2020.
  • 24 projects approved for funding of €21.3 million under the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, bringing to over 670 the total number of projects support by this scheme since the second half of 2016.
  • The development of a new tourism brand for the Midland region, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, launched by Fáilte Ireland, further boosting employment in local economies.
  • Launch of the strategy for the future development of National and Regional Greenways, backed by a fund of €53m for the years 2019 to 2021.

 

Minister Ring added: “The implementation of the measures in the Action Plan provides a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to supporting the development of our rural communities. The delivery of these actions will assist rural Ireland to realise its true potential and enable our rural communities to prosper. I am committed to ensuring the measures set out in the Action Plan are delivered in full and I look forward to continuing to working with my colleagues throughout Government to achieve this goal.

“The recently launched Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a further demonstration of the Government’s commitment to rural Ireland and will provide investment of €1 billion to revitalise rural areas over the next ten years. On Friday I joined An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar in announcing the first group of successful applicants for the Fund. Further announcements in relation to successful applicants for the Fund will follow shortly. A further call for applications will take place in mid-2019.”

The Third Progress Report on the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development can be found on the Department’s website:

here.

ENDS

 

Note to editors: 

Realising our Rural Potential, the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development was launched in January 2017.  The Action Plan contains over 270 actions for the delivery across Government, State agencies and other bodies over three years to support the economic and social progress of rural Ireland.  The actions are broken down across 5 thematic Pillars as follows:

Pillar 1:      Supporting Sustainable Communities

 

Pillar 2:      Supporting Enterprise and Employment

 

Pillar 3:      Maximising our Rural Tourism and Recreation Potential

 

Pillar 4:      Fostering Culture and Creativity in rural communities

 

Pillar 5:      Improving Rural Infrastructure and Connectivity

Each action has been assigned to a lead body which will be responsible for implementation of the action within a definite timescale.  Progress on the implementation of the actions is overseen by a Monitoring Committee which includes senior representatives of relevant Government Departments and key rural stakeholder interests.

Progress Reports on the implementation of the Action Plan are published twice-yearly. This Third Progress Report outlines the progress which has taken place in relation to all of the actions due for delivery between January and June 2018, or which are being implemented on an ongoing basis over the course of the three year Action Plan.

A total of 275 actions are reported on in this latest Progress Report, covering measures due for delivery between January and June 2018, or which are being implemented on an ongoing basis.  Of the actions reported on, 266 have been completed or are substantially advanced, representing a delivery rate of 96%.  9 actions due for delivery were delayed, these will continue to be monitored with a view to their completion as soon as possible.

Key developments outlined in the Third Progress Report includes:

  • 224 projects approved for funding of €21.3 million under the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, bringing to over 670 the total number of projects support by this scheme since the second half of 2016.
  • Launch of a pilot scheme to develop innovative proposals to encourage town centre living.  Six rural towns (Boyle, Callan, Ballinrobe, Banagher, Castleblayney, Cappoquin) will identify tailored practical solutions with the objective of increasing the number of people living in rural towns.
  • ​​​Funding of €11.8 million approved in 2018 for 389 projects under the CLÁR programme. Since 2016, over 1,200 projects have been approved for funding of €25 million under CLÁR.
  • Support provided to date under the 2018-2022 SICAP programme for 1,386 local community groups and 14,155 clients from target groups such as low income workers, disadvantaged young people, disadvantaged women, lone parents, and the unemployed.
  • An increase of 146,400 in the numbers employed in regions outside of Dublin between Q1 2015 and Q2 2018. This surpasses the key objective of the Government to support the creation of 135,000 jobs outside the Dublin region between 2015 and 2020.
  • Significant job announcements in regional locations across the country by IDA in 2018, including 600 jobs in the Mid-West at Edwards Life Sciences, 400 new jobs promised for Dundalk by Chinese Lifesciences company Wuxi Biologics, and significant announcements in Longford in Avery Dennison and Red Seal Cups, bringing 300 jobs to the Midlands region.
  • Launch of the campaign for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, Fáilte Ireland’s new experience brand for the Midland’s region, with an initial €2 million allocation to start the development stage of the brand.
  • Publication of the strategy for the future development of National and Regional Greenways in July 2018, which outlines how Greenways in Ireland should be planned and constructed, and backed by a fund of €53m for the years 2019 to 2021.
  • Launch of the Creative Schools initiative, which establishes collaborative opportunities between schools and cultural organisations, as a pilot in 150 schools in September 2018.
  • Allocation  for the Irish-Language Assistants Scheme increased by €230,000 to €1.02m in relation to the 2018/19 school year to facilitate the provision of language assistants in up to 136 schools throughout the Gaeltacht.
  • Provision of training under the Digital Skills Training Programme to over 29,000 citizens, including 3,500 unemployed people, between January 2017 and June 2018.
  • The second annual Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce Stakeholder Forum took place in October, bringing together key stakeholders to discuss issues impacting on broadband and mobile phone coverage, and to identify solutions to enhance and improve services.
  • Launch in February of the 2018 Local Improvement Scheme with funding allocation of €10.8 million. A further €10 million allocation was made in October 2018. In total, since the scheme was re-launched in 2017, over €38 million has been allocated, and over 1,100 individual roads have benefited.
  • As part of the National Development Plan 2018 – 2027 announcement of funding allocation of €940m over the lifetime of the Plan to underpin the delivery of flood relief capital works.
  • The new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was also announced as part of the National Development Plan, and will see €1 billion invested in rural Ireland over the period to 2027.