Minster of State and Galway East TD, Sean Canney has said the Government is delivering on its key commitments under the Action Plan for Rural Development which was launched earlier this year.

The Action Plan contains 276 actions for the delivery across Government, State agencies and other bodies over the next three years to support the economic and social progress of rural Ireland.

Each action has been assigned to a lead body which will be responsible for implementation
of the action within a definite timescale. In all, 95 actions are due for delivery in 2017, with further actions classed as ‘ongoing’

“We are just over three months into the implementation of the Action Plan, and we have already demonstrated that the Plan has already established a great deal of momentum
The Government will maintain a high level of focus on delivering the actions in the Plan

Key achievements to date include:
– The 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme with funding of €20 million over 15 months to support up to 300 towns and villages
– The Repair and Lease Scheme under Rebuilding Ireland is now available nationwide. In 2017, €32m has been allocated and up to 800 vacant properties can be brought back into use this year as new homes for families on local authority waiting lists in rural and urban areas. A further €24m for the return of over 1,400 vacant Local Authority properties to productive use in 2017 was announced this month.
– The 2017 CLAR programme has funding of €5m to support disadvantaged rural communities;
– 500 additional places on the Rural Social Scheme
– Grant-aid scheme for community-based CCTV systems
– Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) Taskforce established
– €4m additional funding for Local Enterprise Offices
– The GLAS Scheme reopened
– 50,000 apprenticeships and traineeships to be filled by 2020
– €9 million was approved for investment in 56 arts and culture centre
– Significant progress outlined on maintenance activity by the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group
– Government has agreed the administrative arrangements for a one-off targeted Voluntary Homeowner Relocation Scheme
– Public consultation opened on Greenways strategy
– €25m for Sheep Welfare Scheme
– €500,000 to boost tourism potential of Ireland’s National Parks
– €11.5m for 10 key Heritage Sites within Ireland’s Ancient East region
– €1.75m from Dormant Accounts Fund for social enterprises that assist disadvantaged people with emphasis on rural areas
“With the election of a new Taoiseach in the next few weeks, it is important from an Independent Alliance point of view that the emphasis in Government remains very much focused on rural development and sustaining local communities,” said Minister Canney.