Proposals invited under €1b Rural Regeneration & Development Fund

Michael Ring, TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, has today (13 December 2019) launched a call for proposals under Category 2 of the Government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, a key component of Project Ireland 2040.

Under Project Ireland 2040, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development, will provide €1 billion in investment over 10 years to support the renewal of small towns, villages and outlying rural areas through transformative large-scale projects. Initial funding of €315 million is being allocated on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022.

Category 2 of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund supports the early development of projects to enable them to reach a stage where the concept is developed to a high standard and the project is in a position to commence works. Projects could subsequently apply for further funding through Category 1 of the Fund, which supports the delivery and completion of projects which have full planning permission and other necessary consents in place.

Announcing the opening of this call for the Fund, Minister Ring said: “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the scale of investment necessary to allow rural communities to continue to thrive and to help achieve balanced regional growth. It is already making its presence felt in rural Ireland. 

“With a 10 year Fund it is important that we provide the right support to assist a vision to be developed to the point that it is shovel-ready. There can be significant work involved in getting a project to this point. 

“This Category 2 funding can be used for a variety of purposes including for example, the development of a detailed project design, preparation for the planning process and, if necessary, the purchase of relevant properties or lands. “I look forward to seeing the exciting proposals which come through this process.”

The Fund seeks to support proposals which will drive increased activity in our rural towns and villages and they can relate to, for example, enterprise, culture, community, recreation or tourism development.

It is open to Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, State agencies, other Government Departments, philanthropic funders, the private sector and communities.  The Lead Partner must be a State-funded body but collaboration between parties, including with communities, is strongly encouraged.

The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 12pm on Friday, 28 February 2020. Applications should be submitted electronically on the official application form, which is available on the website of the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Full details of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund are available on gov.ie at:   https://www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/c77144-rural-regeneration-and-development-fund/

The Department has produced a guidance document, which can be accessed on the Department’s website, for those seeking more information on this call for applications from the Fund.  In addition, the Department will also host an information session for stakeholders relating to this Category 2 call for applications.

Project Ireland 2040 – The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland. It includes a detailed capital investment plan for the next ten years, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027, and the National Planning Framework which outlines the broader policy principles and priorities in planning for future population and economic growth to 2040.

Project Ireland 2040 established four new capital funds:

  1. Rural Regeneration and Development Fund: €1bn (Department of Rural and Community Development)
  2. Urban Regeneration and Development Fund: €2bn (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government)
  3. Disruptive Technologies Fund: €500m (Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation)
  4. Climate Action Fund: €500m (Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment)

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was established to deliver on the objective in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities and will be rolled out over a 10-year period.  The Fund is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development. 

The Fund will provide investment to support suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas, which will deliver on the aims of Project Ireland 2040 and achieve sustainable economic and social development in these areas. Initial funding of €315 million has been allocated to the fund on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022.

Calls for applications to the Fund are sought under two categories.  Category 1 relates to projects with all necessary planning and other consents in place and which are ready to proceed, while Category 2 projects are those which required further development to become ready for Category 1 status.  The call the Minister is announcing today relates to Category 2, project development work which will assist a project to become ready for delivery.

The first call for applications to the Fund closed in September 2018. Arising from the first call, 38 successful Category 1 projects and 46 Category 2 projects were announced, with funding of €86m provided from the Fund to support projects worth €117m. 

The second call for Category 1 applications for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund closed in August 2019.  Arising from the second call, 26 projects were approved for funding of €62 million to support projects costing €95 million.

To date, the Fund has now provided €148 million for 110 projects across Ireland, worth a total of €212 million.

Further details:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/7be140-test/