By Ciarán O’ Flaithearta
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State, Joe O’Brien TD, have announced a Budget package worth €431 million for 2024.
The budget has allocated over €205 million in funding for the Department’s Rural Development programme, including supporting schemes such as Town and Village Renewal, LEADER and the Rural Regeneration Development Fund.
This includes additional funding for the Local Improvement Scheme and CLÁR, bringing their funding levels to €13 million and €8.7 million respectively.
The Budget will also provide funding increases for the continued provision of lifeline transport services to our offshore islands and for capital investment on our islands.
Speaking today, Minister Humphreys said “This week’s Budget provides €431 million in funding to help build strong, vibrant, sustainable communities and to further develop Rural Ireland.
“This Budget will help promote the development of rural areas, through the continued rollout of remote working facilities, the regeneration our towns and villages, and providing support to rural economies.”
This demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to rolling out ‘Our Rural Future’, with investment in rural development more than doubling since 2018.
Minister of State O’Brien added: “Budget 2024 demonstrates the Governments continued commitment to supporting social inclusion, community development, and the community and voluntary sector.”
“In 2024, separate funding of €11 million continues to be available to support the community response to the Ukraine crisis. This plays a vital role in helping people settle and integrate within their new communities.”
Community Development Programmes:
Over €225 million has been secured for the Department’s Community Development Programmes.
The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme, and the Community Services Programme (SICAP), will have combined core funding of over €100 million.
These schemes support individuals and communities in both rural and urban areas, promoting social inclusion and supporting the provision of vital community services throughout the country.
Budget 2024 also provides €11 million to assist with the community response to the Ukraine crisis, under SICAP and through volunteering supports.
This will fund work to assist and help integrate arrivals from Ukraine into local communities throughout the country.
Funding of €10 million is also being provided to capital projects approved under the Community Recognition Fund.
This was developed in recognition of the contribution being made by communities in welcoming and hosting significant numbers of arrivals from Ukraine and other countries.
The allocation for Community Development also provides funding of €21 million to support the Community Centre Investment Fund in 2024 – delivering upgrades to existing centres and allowing investment in new centres where they are needed, in both rural and urban areas.