Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, has today approved €7.5 million in funding to re-develop 36 derelict and vacant properties in rural Ireland into new community hubs.
The funding, under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, will see former banks, Garda stations and courthouses taken into public ownership and converted for community use.
The scheme is designed to tackle the scourge of dereliction in rural towns and villages and deliver new facilities that will benefit communities.
The Minister today revealed the first tranche of properties that will be purchased under the initiative, including:
- The former Garda Station in Tarmonbarry and Ballintubber, Co Roscommon
- The former Courthouse in New Ross and former Bank of Ireland Building at Rosslare Harbour, Co Wexford
- The former Bank of Ireland Building in Rathkeale, Co Limerick
- The former Garda Station in Ashford and the former Bank of Ireland Building in Carnew, Co Wicklow
- The FCA Hall in Mitchelstown, Co Cork
- The former Bank of Ireland Building in Cootehill, Co Cavan
- A former commercial property in Athenry, Co Galway
Under the Scheme, local authorities were asked by the Department to engage with the local community to identify suitable properties to turn into the likes of community and enterprise hubs, remote facilities and youth centres.
Some 36 properties have now been identified as part of a €7.5 million investment.
Further properties will be announced once the local authority has finalised the sales process.
Commenting today, Minister Humphreys said:
“This scheme is all about tackling the scourge of vacancy and dereliction in our rural towns and villages.
“It’s about taking those old run-down buildings that have been lying idle for far too long.
“Now, they will be given a new lease of life and converted into community hubs.
“The list I am publishing today includes old Garda stations, bank buildings and even a former Courthouse.
“These will now be taken into public ownership and, most importantly, will be turned into spaces where the local community can gather and hold events.”
The Minister added:
“This initiative goes to the heart of what ‘Our Rural Future’ is all about – regenerating our towns and villages and making them better places to live, work and raise a family.
“Our local authorities have identified 36 properties in total and as the sales processes are agreed I will be in a position to announce further projects in the future.
“As these buildings are redeveloped, they will become important assets for local communities and will ensure that our rural towns and villages continue to be at the centre of our national wellbeing.
“Over the coming months, we will see the development of community spaces, remote working and youth facilities or enterprise hubs.
“Today’s funding announcement will ensure that communities have the resources to develop new amenities and facilities in line with needs they have identified themselves.
“I want to pay tribute to the local communities who have responded to this initiative with enthusiasm – working alongside their local authority to make this happen.”
The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office
01 7736843 / 087-1734633
Notes to Editor
Building Acquisition Measure
The new 2022 Building Acquisition Measure forms part of the overarching Town and Village Renewal Scheme structure. This will provide up to €400,000 to each local authority to purchase vacant and derelict buildings for future development as community assets. Each local authority was invited to apply to purchase up to two such buildings within the €400,000 available.
Our Rural Future
Our Rural Future is the whole-of-government policy for rural Ireland for the period 2021-2025. It represents a new milestone in the approach to rural development policy for Ireland.
The policy’s objectives will be achieved through the delivery of 161 measures, to be implemented progressively over the life of the policy across a range of government departments and agencies. Annual work programmes enable new actions to be added over the policy’s lifecycle, to respond to the emerging needs of rural communities.
Delivery of actions in the 2022 Work Programme will be monitored through the publication of 6-monthly Progress Reports.