Minister Ring announces €62 million in funding for Rural Regeneration and Development projects across the country

Thursday, 14 February 2019

At the announcement of €62 Million in funding for Rural Regeneration and Development Projects across Ireland from Project 2040 at The IONTAS Centre, Castleblayney, were (L-R) Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD, Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development and Minister of State, Mr Seán Canney TD. ©Rory Geary

  • Project Ireland 2040 funds instrumental in strengthening rural economies and communities
  • €86 million from Rural Regeneration and Development Fund allocated to date
  • Measures funded to support rejuvenation of communities, job creation and transform rural economies

Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, has today (Thursday, 14 February) announced 66 projects which will be allocated funding of €62 million under the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, a key component of Project Ireland 2040.

The announcement today, following on from the first announcement in Sligo last year, means that to date, 84 projects have been allocated a total of €86 million funding for rural regeneration and development. This will be leveraged with a further €31 million in matched funding being provided by state-funded bodies. This represents a total investment of €117 million in projects, which will deliver for rural communities across the country.

The announcement took place in the Íontas Arts Centre, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan where Minister Ring was joined by Heather Humphreys TD, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Seán Canney TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development.

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund aims to revitalise rural Ireland by supporting self-sustaining projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000.

The successful applications for funding announced today include:

  • The regeneration of Athenry Town, including the completion of the existing Bia Innovator Campus, driving entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • A national mountain-biking project that will develop recreational facilities in four locations across seven counties, promoting economic tourism potential.
  • The development of a major tourism and amenity attraction at the site of Granard Motte, a national monument on the outskirts of Granard.
  • A new community-run Enterprise Centre, adjacent to Castlebayney Town Centre, providing high quality office space on a disused site, facilitating economic development in the regions.
  • Boyle Town regeneration project which will help to generate employment potential, and also delivers significant public realm improvement for the community in the area.
  • A town regeneration project for Thomastown, Kilkenny. This includes the renovation of the former court house into a Craft and Design Centre, in conjunction with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland.

Speaking at the event today, Minister Ring said:

“This Fund is a clear demonstration of Project Ireland 2040 in action and is further evidence of this Government’s commitment to rural communities. These investments will have a transformative effect on many rural towns, villages and outlying areas.

“These projects are ambitious and strategic in nature. The funding will transform communities by delivering projects in sectors such as tourism, agri-food and recreation. After today, every county in the country will be benefitting from the Rural Fund.

“I believe that it is vital that we continue to build resilience in rural communities and make our towns and villages vibrant places for families to live. It is also particularly appropriate, with Brexit approaching, that we continue to strengthen the rural economy and support sustainable development. The projects that this fund supports are targeting areas where they can have the greatest economic and social impact.

“Today’s announcement represents the culmination of the first call under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. We have had a phenomenal level of interest and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of those that were successful. For those who have been unsuccessful, my Department will provide feedback to enable them to prepare for the next call for proposals later this year.”

Minister Humphreys welcomed the announcement, adding:

“Without a doubt, this funding will support job creation and encourage entrepreneurship right across the country. It also promotes balanced regional development and ensures that opportunity is shared all over Ireland.

“In 2018, the IDA created more jobs outside of Dublin than at any point in the last 17 years. Indeed almost 60% of all IDA employment and two-thirds of Enterprise Ireland employment is now outside of Dublin and, earlier today, I announced the 2018 results for the Local Enterprise Offices which shows strong jobs growth in every county.

“Through the Project Ireland 2040 Funds and our new Regional Enterprise Plans, we now have a range of sustainable supports available that can help us to ensure that these positive trends continue. I would like to join Minister Ring in congratulating the successful projects announced today.”

Minister Canney welcomed the collaborative approach to delivering rural development:

“The Rural Fund encourages joined-up thinking involving collaboration between Government Departments, Local Authorities, public bodies, and rural stakeholders. The projects announced today will bring about real and tangible benefits for rural communities and the regions.”


A detailed list of the successful projects announced today is provided below:

Note to editors: 

The Department of Rural and Community Development:

The Department was established on 19th July 2017 to provide a renewed and consolidated focus on rural and community development in Ireland.

The consolidation into a new Department of both policy and supports in respect of community and rural development provides the means for a greater focus on creating vibrant and sustainable communities.  The Department also has responsibility for ensuring arrangements for strong oversight of the charities sector through facilitating the Charities Regulatory Authority in carrying-out its independent statutory role.

Project Ireland 2040:

Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s overarching policy initiative to make Ireland a better country for all of us, a country that reflects the best of who we are and what we aspire to be.

Project Ireland 2040 is informed by the Programme for a Partnership Government 2016, which recognises that economic and social progress go hand in hand, as well as by the National Planning Framework to 2040 and the National Development Plan 2018-2027.

Project Ireland 2040 emphasises social outcomes and values ahead of economic targets. It prioritises the wellbeing of all of our people, wherever they live and whatever their background.


€4 billion Project Ireland 2040 funds:

The four funds are a major innovation in Project Ireland 2040.  Rather than allocating funding in a ‘business as usual’ way to Government Departments, money will be allocated competitively to the best projects, which leverage investment from other sources thereby ensuring that the impact of this investment goes much, much further.

  • €2 billion Urban Regeneration and Development Fund
  • €1 billion Rural Development Fund
  • €500 million Climate Action Fund
  • €500 million Disruptive Technologies Fund


€1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund:

The overall objective of this fund is to deliver the strategic outcomes of Project Ireland 2040, and in particular to strengthen rural economies rural communities by rejuvenating smaller towns and villages, helping to diversify employment opportunities in rural areas, supporting the development of rural communities and improving their quality of life.  The fund targets towns with a population of less than 10,000 people, as well as villages and outlying rural areas.

The fund encourages collaborative approaches between Departments, agencies, Local Authorities and other public bodies, and the private sector, where appropriate, to pool their assets and work with communities to transform our rural towns and villages and their outlying areas.

Projects must demonstrate a capacity to add value to other public investments. There is a requirement for a co-funding contribution from other public or private sources – expected to be of the order of 25%.  The first phase will also allow for technical supports for preparatory groundwork for future phase investments, through Local Authorities and other locally based organisations.