As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has committed to providing an additional €1 billion for a new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (“the Fund”) over the period 2019 to 2027. The Fund will provide investment to support rural renewal for suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas. It will be administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The new Fund provides an unprecedented opportunity to support the revitalisation of rural Ireland, to make a significant and sustainable impact on rural communities, and to address de-population in small rural towns, villages and rural areas. It will be a key instrument to support the objectives of the National Planning Framework, and in particular to achieve Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities – one of the National Strategic Outcomes of the NPF.
Initial funding of €315 million is being allocated to the Fund on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022.
The objective of the new Fund is to support coordinated and integrated projects between Government Departments, State agencies, Local Authorities, other public bodies, communities and, where appropriate, philanthropic funders and/or the private sector, which will have an impact on sustainable economic and social development in rural areas.
Funding will be awarded through a competitive bid process, based on delivering the objectives for rural Ireland in the National Planning Framework.
The Fund will support ambitious and strategic projects which contribute to sustainable rural regeneration and development. It will support investments of scale which would not otherwise be delivered without the additionality provided by the Fund, and projects that are outside the scope of existing schemes. In this context, projects are likely to be multi-annual and multi-faceted, involving a number of elements or phases as part of a broad strategic plan.
Key outcomes will be to support sustainable community and economic development in rural Ireland, including through regenerating smaller towns and villages and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation to support job creation in rural areas.
Categories of proposals
The first call for proposals under the Fund is being launched in July 2018 and submissions are invited under two categories:
Category 1: “Ready-to-Go” proposals, or initial phases of projects which can be commenced in 2019, which have the necessary consents (e.g. planning) in place, are at an advanced stage of design, are in a position to satisfy value-for-money requirements in accordance with the Public Spending Code, and are procurement-ready.
Category 2: Proposals that have clear potential and quantifiable objectives but require further development to enable them to be potentially submitted as Category 1 proposals in subsequent funding calls.
Successful applications under Category 2 above will be approved to allow detailed development of the proposal to be progressed. Issues that may need to be addressed as part of the development of the proposal could include land ownership/title, planning and design work, value for money assessment, and procurement. Funding will be provided towards the cost of project development in these cases, including for technical or expert assistance.
All queries relating to the fund can be addressed to email@example.com