The Government has announced €20 million in funding for rural towns and villages as part of the Action Plan for Rural Development in in Tuar Ard in Moate on Thursday morning.


Peter Burke, TD for the area said he was delighted the Minister and Minister Michael Ring accepted his invitation to launch the scheme and Moate. He said this scheme is a fantastic and well-funded initiative and will bring tangible benefits to people and revitalise rural communities in Moate, and across south and north Westmeath.


“The funding announced this week by Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, and in conjunction with her colleague Minister of State Michael Ring is great news for rural Ireland and I strongly encourage Westmeath County Council to apply. Double the funding is available this year compared to last year, when Westmeath received over €380,000.


“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential, and is part of a package of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland.


Former Kerry footballer and head of rural advisory group Pat Spillane also spoke at the launch and said the Government and Minister were being responsive to the need of rural Ireland and this money would do great work to improve things rurally.


“Up to 300 towns and villages will benefit from funding under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which will be made available through Local Authorities over the next 15 months to support rural regeneration.


“The scheme is specifically targeted at rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000. Applications from towns can range from €20,000 to a maximum of €100,000. Funding of up to €200,000 will also be considered for a limited number of projects which can deliver exceptionally strong economic benefit to a town and its outlying areas.


“A number of towns and villages across Westmeath were badly affected by the recession of recent years and part of Fine Gael’s Action Plan will review planning legislation to allow the change of use of vacant commercial properties in rural towns and villages. I hope to see this having an impact in towns like Moate, Killucan, Streamstown, Ballynacargy, Finea and others across the county.


“Westmeath received huge funds under this scheme last year for seven towns, with Kilbeggan receiving €100,000 and Moate of course receiving €70,000.


“Minister Humphreys is using the resources created by our strong economy to deliver real benefits to people and communities all across the country.  The Government’s new Action Plan for Rural Ireland contains over 270 targeted actions that will help to deliver these benefits to people here in Westmeath.