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Budget 2022: €376 million for Rural & Community Development

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State, Joe O’Brien TD, have today announced a Budget package worth €376 million for 2022.

Some €200 million in funding is to be used to expand all of the Department’s rural schemes, such as Town and Village Renewal, CLÁR, Outdoor Recreation, LEADER and the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF). Budget 2022 also provides for the appointment of the first ever Town Regeneration Officers. These posts will be crucial in helping to revitalise the centre of our towns.

Reflecting the commitments under the Government’s rural development policy, Our Rural Future, Budget 2022 will further the development of the country’s first ever national hub network, Connected Hubs, and offer incentives for remote working. There will be additional funding to invest in our outdoor amenities and adventure tourism, as well as our island communities. The Department’s Budget also provides for further development of the popular ‘Walk’s Scheme’ in rural communities and the delivery of the proposed National Outdoor Recreation Strategy. Learning from the experiences of the Pandemic, a specific funding scheme for community centres will be launched early in the New Year.

Budget 2022.

Reflecting the commitments under the Government’s rural development policy, Our Rural Future, Budget 2022 will further the development of the country’s first ever national hub network, Connected Hubs, and offer incentives for remote working. There will be additional funding to invest in our outdoor amenities and adventure tourism, as well as our island communities.

The Department’s Budget also provides for further development of the popular ‘Walk’s Scheme’ in rural communities and the delivery of the proposed National Outdoor Recreation Strategy. Learning from the experiences of the Pandemic, a specific funding scheme for community centres will be launched early in the New Year.

Furthermore, some €170 million in funding will be provided for Community Development Programmes. This includes a 10% increase in the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme budget – a move that will provide up to 60 new community workers nationwide. Overall, the €376 million budget secured by Ministers Humphreys and O’Brien is the largest ever budget secured for rural and community development projects.

Minister Heather Humphreys, TD.

Speaking today, Minister Humphreys said “’Our Rural Future’ is already making a hugely positive impact in towns and villages throughout Rural Ireland. This week’s Budget, which includes over €376 million in funding, will ensure we continue to place Rural Ireland at the heart of our post-Covid recovery. Thousands of communities right across the country have already benefitted from funding under the likes of Town and Village Renewal, CLÁR, Outdoor Recreation LEADER and the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF)."

“I’m really pleased to announce that every single one of our schemes will receive additional investment as part of Budget 2022. This will allow us to deliver more projects such as libraries and community facilities, further enhance our streetscapes, as well as invest in our islands and outdoor amenities such as our parks, walkways, cycleways and greenways. The renewal of our town centres is also a key part of this Budget. That’s why I’m really pleased to announce funding for Town Regeneration Officers, who will be key in coordinating and utilising the funding streams available and revitalising the centre of our towns and villages."

“Furthermore, we will continue the expansion of our ‘Walk’s Scheme’ - attracting more tourism to Rural Ireland. We’ve also learned the true meaning of ‘community’ during this Pandemic. I’m delighted therefore to announce that I intend to launch a new funding scheme for Community Centres early in the New Year – a scheme I expect there will be huge demand for.”

The Minister added “A key part of this is budget is ensuring we capitalise on the opportunities presented by Remote Working. As we continue to develop our national hub network, ‘Connected Hubs’, I am pleased to have secured additional funding for next year which will allow us to introduce further incentives to attract remote workers to Rural Ireland. I have said before that, as Minister, I am determined to revitalise and re-imagine rural Ireland – making it a better place to live, work and raise a family. The funding provided in this budget will help to make this objective a reality”.

Minister Joe O Brien, TD.

Minister of State O’Brien, who has responsibility for Community Development and Charities, added “The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is the principal social inclusion programme in Ireland, and the announcement today of a 10% budget increase for the programme will further enhance the vital work of SICAP. In real terms, the additional funding will see at least 60 additional community workers on the ground in communities across Ireland. Having these extra workers available to work with disadvantaged groups and marginalised communities will add to SICAPs ability to improve social and economic outcomes for many families and individuals who need support."

“The community spirit underpinning SICAP and that was so evident throughout the pandemic must be harnessed and built upon. Today’s budget increase is a significant strengthening of community supports and I look forward to welcoming the new community workers into communities across Ireland over the coming months.”

Key Points:

  • Largest ever Budget Package for Rural Ireland.
  • Our Rural Future: €200 million to expand all rural schemes such as Town and Village Renewal, CLÁR, Outdoor Recreation, LEADER and Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
  • First ever Town Regeneration Officers to help revitalise centre of towns.
  • Further rollout of remote working facilities under ‘Connected Hubs’ initiative.
  • Funding for expansion of ‘Walks Scheme’ and delivery of National Outdoor Recreation Strategy.
  • New Fund for the upgrade of Community Centres to be launched in 2022.
  • Increased investment in our island infrastructure and Local Improvement Scheme.
  • €170 million in funding for Community Development Programmes, including a 10% increase in the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme budget – a move that will provide up to 60 new community workers nationwide.

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