Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed the €30m Village and Town Renewal Scheme announced this morning by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny saying that it creates great opportunities here in Westmeath and Longford.
“Fine Gael is keenly aware of the impact the economic downturn has had on towns and villages throughout Ireland and this year we launched the Standing Up for Rural Ireland campaign where backbench TDs came together to work to advocate on behalf of rural communities to ensure that the economic recovery spreads to all parts of Ireland.
“The Village and Town Renewal Scheme will support the revitalisation of towns/villages, making them better places to live and to work, and increasing their potential to support growing economic activity.
“The new scheme proposed will run over 6 years and will have a budget of €30m. The initiative will be channelled through the Local Authorities with oversight by the Local Community Development Committees and when implemented, I expect we will see an impact in both counties.
“Projects eligible under this scheme will extend to the enhancement of villages, small towns and the surrounding countryside. Projects such as greenways, cycleways, upgrading parks and civic areas, public utilities such as street lighting and renovation of relevant derelict buildings are just some of the possible projects which could qualify for this funding.
“The Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) report has shown that rural towns have felt the impact of the economic downturn more acutely than cities and larger urban centres. The Government committed to addressing the recommendations of the CEDRA report and to ensuring that the recovery spreads to all parts of the country. This scheme is delivering on that commitment.
“Other parties talk up the demise of rural Ireland. Fine Gael doesn’t buy into this. Rural Ireland is alive, but it needs support and through the Village and Town Renewal Scheme we can promote rural Ireland.
“In order to take advantage of this scheme we are dependent on local stakeholders to come together and to decide which projects should be selected to apply for this funding. €30 million is a lot of money and can make a huge difference to rural Ireland and to our towns and villages.”