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Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys announces new €13 million Fund to tackle vacancy and dereliction in Rural Ireland

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced a new €13 million Fund designed to tackle vacancy and dereliction in Rural Ireland.


Under the initiative, each local authority can apply for funding of up to €500,000, which they can use to purchase up to three properties to re-develop into multi-purpose community facilities.


The funding, under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, is designed to make our towns and villages more attractive places in which to live, visit, invest and raise a family.


Funding previously announced under the scheme saw old banks, court houses, garda stations and FCA halls all purchased and re-purposed for 21st century use.


In opening the call for applications today, Minister Humphreys encouraged councils to work with communities in pinpointing buildings that are suffering from vacancy and dereliction.


Minister Humphreys stated:


“This initiative is already having a hugely positive impact right across Rural Ireland.


“With the support of my Department, councils have been given the resources they need to purchase buildings that have been lying idle for years.


“From old garda stations, bank buildings and former courthouses – these properties are now being given a new lease of life and re-purposed for 21st century use.


“Given the success to date, I’m delighted today to announce further funding of €13 million.


“Today, I’m inviting all eligible local authority to submit up to three properties for purchase and we will provide them with funding of up to €500,000 to do so.


“The properties that will be purchased will be taken into public ownership and, most importantly, will be turned into spaces where the local community can gather and hold events.


“This is all about building on the momentum that ‘Our Rural Future’ has delivered. It’s a huge opportunity for us all to work together in tackling the scourge of dereliction and transforming old run-down buildings into facilities that will benefit communities for generations to come.”


Ireland’s Town Centre First Policy recognises there is no one-size-fits-all solution to regeneration, so actively supports a place-based approach to town regeneration. Since the launch of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, over €149 million has been allocated to more than 1,600 projects.

The Scheme is having a transformative effect on towns and villages throughout Ireland and has made an important contribution to supporting vibrant and sustainable communities. Details of the 2023 Building Acquisition Measure can be found on the Department’s website here.


Additionally today, Minister Humphreys has announced details of when the main capital investment schemes will be opening in 2023. 


The Minister continued:


“There has never been as many opportunities for local community groups to access funding for rural and community development projects. 


“I am anxious to make this funding as accessible as possible, and with this in mind I am now publishing the details of when the main capital investment schemes will be open for applications in 2023. 


“This will help community groups and local authorities to see what funding is available and when, and will assist them in the planning of their applications”.


Examples of buildings acquired under last year’s measure are available in Appendix A. The calendar of 2023 schemes in available on the Department’s website here and is attached below.