Minister Phelan announces funding of over €3.7 million for Rural Economic Development Zone (REDZ) pilot projects

Published on Tuesday, 29 Sep 2015

Minister Phelan announces funding of over €3.7 million for Rural Economic Development Zone (REDZ) pilot projects

29/09/15

Today, 29th September 2015, Ann Phelan, TD Minister of State for Rural Affairs  is delighted to announce €3,758,479 in funding  for the REDZ pilot scheme.

A Rural Economic Development Zone is described as a functional rather than administrative geographic area that reflect the spatial patterns of local economic activities and development processes, i.e. they are the sub-county zones within which most people live and work.

Research surrounding this element of the CEDRA report identified potential REDZ in all areas of Ireland and recommended the implementation of a pilot initiative that supports the formulation of a localised strategic approach to the development of REDZ.

Minister Phelan said that “This funding is about community participation, boosting employment, tackling rural isolation and helping communities to identify the issues   and also the solutions. The concept of a REDZ which involves supporting communities to avail of opportunities to help themselves and their local areas is the essence of what a community led approach to rural development is all about. Rural communities know best what they require and I hope that this pilot will provide much needed resources to some of the REDZ community’s throughout Ireland to further the economic development of their areas and I hope that the learning from this pilot will inform thinking as the economy continues to recover.” 

Minister Phelan added, “I am absolutely delighted to announce the funding allocations for the REDZ pilot scheme today.  The quality of the applications and level of interest in the pilot scheme was such that I have made additional funding available so that each qualifying project will be offered at least 50% of the funding they applied for. I am happy to announce that 26 pilot projects, rather than the original 18, on a regional basis and at different levels of scale will receive 100% of the funding applied for and the 25 remaining projects that qualified will be offered 50% of the funding applied for. I have no doubt, that these projects will make a real difference in the lives of many rural communities. 

The Minister concluded “I am confident that these resources coupled with the €30million for the rural towns and villages renewal scheme announced yesterday are just the beginning of a process of rural renewal regeneration and I look forward to hearing about and visiting many of the projects as they come to fruition.”

Ends

Note for the editor  

This pilot is a result of the work of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) which was published in April 2014.  The report identified the need to take a more tailored approach to planning at both a regional and local level and recognised that this approach should not be restricted by current administrative boundaries. This report demonstrates a clear beneficial relationship between towns and the surrounding rural areas which reflect Ireland’s actual economic geography, as well as identifying potential REDZ in all areas of Ireland. 

The aims and objectives of the REDZ pilot compliment the objectives of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (RDP) as well as addressing the priorities identified for LEADER of poverty reduction, social inclusion and economic development of rural areas.  

It is envisaged that pending the success of the pilot initiative that a call for proposals for a more extensive REDZ initiative under the LEADER elements of the RDP will take place during 2016.

Allocations & map here.

Press  Office Tel: (01) 888 2638  (direct) (01) 888 2000 E-Mail: press-office@environ.ie Web site: www.environ.ie Twitter:@EnvironPress

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