Minister Ring announces over €220 million allocation for rural Ireland and communities in Budget 2018

Published 10 October 2017

12% increase in funding is second highest of any Government Department

The Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring T.D. has announced that Budget 2018 will provide in excess of €220 million in funding for rural Ireland and our communities, describing the monies allocated as “an opportunity to create more vibrant, inclusive communities and support people and families who live in rural Ireland”.

This funding, which represents the second highest percentage increase to any Government Department, will allow the new Department of Rural and Community Development to continue to invest in a wide range of schemes and programmes designed to improve the wellbeing and sustainability of communities and rural areas.

Minister Ring said: “The new Department is unprecedented in its mandate and this increased Budget when put to use will have an extremely positive impact on people and families living and working in rural Ireland. As the impact of this funding is felt it will help to change the narrative around rural Ireland and local communities.

“With the focus of this year’s overall national budget very much on balancing the books there is an average spending increase across Government Departments of 3%. The 12% increase in my Department’s budget represents the second highest percentage increase in spending of any Government Department.

“Funding for many of my Department’s key programmes and initiatives has been increased or maintained.

“The increase in the funding for the hugely popular Town and Village Renewal Scheme by €3 million to €15 million will benefit hundreds of rural communities around the country. Since its introduction last year this scheme has generated huge positivity and has had a tangible impact on hundreds of rural towns and villages and the people who live in or near them.

“Funding for the Outdoor Recreation Scheme will be increased by nearly €4 million to almost €11.4 million. This scheme will provide excellent outdoor amenities such as greenways for local people and families to use and which can attract visitors and jobs into local areas.

“The €10 million allocated to Local Improvement Schemes will provide help improve small private roads, laneways and boreens which don’t come under the control of local authorities and which give access to homes, farmyards, agricultural land and business premises.

“There will be a total of €35 million available for projects under the LEADER programme in 2018. This programme is a huge player in the life of rural communities and I am glad that the Government continues to recognise the need for this vital support to life in rural Ireland.

“I am delighted that the Community Services Programme (CSP) has been incorporated into the Department of Rural and Community Development. The CSP has a budget of €46.2 million which supports community businesses that deliver services and create employment for people from disadvantaged groups. The CSP currently supports 425 community companies and co-operatives in communities where services are lacking or where demands not being met by existing services. I thank Minister Doherty for facilitating the transfer of this programme to my Department.

“The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), the largest social inclusion intervention of its kind in the State, is being supported through an allocation of some €43.2million in 2018, an increase of €1 million, while border regions will benefit from an increase of €2.9million in funding for the Programme for Peace and Reconciliation.”

Key points:

  • €35 million available for LEADER programme
  • Funding for Town and Village Renewal Scheme increased by €3 million to €15 million
  • Outdoor Recreation Scheme to receive increase of nearly €4 million to almost €11.4 million
  • €10 million allocated to Local Improvement Schemes in 2018
  • Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme to receive €43.2 million
  • €46.2 million Community Services Programme moved to Department of Rural and Community Development
  • Increase of €2.9 million to Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE IV 2014-2020), bringing total to €3.7 million

Notes for editors:

The total allocation for the Department of Rural of Community Development in Budget is €228million. Details of all the schemes and programmes receiving funding from the Department can be found online at