Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government announced yesterday a reallocation within the Rural Development Programme (RDP) of €8 million to the Basic Services measure which, while almost fully allocated, still has significant potential.
Quality of life issues including the availability of services and facilities can significantly influence the extent to which people are willing to return or re-locate to rural areas to live and work. The Basic Services measure of the RDP is designed to identify and provide appropriate cultural and leisure facilities to local communities not otherwise available to them and, in this context, improve the quality of life in those areas. The dynamic nature of rural communities throughout Ireland and their continued ability to generate funds through local and community fundraising activities has ensured that there continues to be significant demand for funding to develop such facilities all over rural Ireland. It is in this context that the Minister has decided to reallocate a further €8million to the Basic Services measure.
Announcing this funding for the Basic Services measure of the RDP the Minister said:
“I am continually heartened by the level of commitment shown by rural communities all over rural Ireland to develop and maintain community facilities and amenities. I believe that in this context a reallocation of funding to the Basic Services measure of the RDP is an appropriate reaction to the continuing demand for community facilities and the commitment from rural communities to meet these demands. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage communities all over Ireland to avail of the resources of the RDP to support the development of community facilities thereby improving the quality of life in rural areas and helping to facilitate the development of sustainable rural communities into the future.”
With an annual budget of €96 million for 2012 it is critically important that the 35 Local Development Companies, rural entrepreneurs and community groups all over Ireland continue to look to the LEADER elements of the RDP to provide the financial support necessary to drive their projects forward. This kind of community led local development is already providing and will continue to provide the solid community foundation required to support Ireland’s recovery process into the future.