Targeted funding for the regeneration of towns and to support above-
shop and town centre living
A new ‘Town Centre First’ policy, will revitalise towns across County and benefit local
communities, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Garret Ahearn said: “Fine Gael is working to create stronger safer
communities and this new ‘Town Centre First’ policy is crucial to that. It is designed
to support the regeneration of our towns and villages with targeted funding to support
above-shop and town centre living.
“This ambitious and far-reaching policy contains a range of measures and funding
supports aimed at making towns in Tipperary more viable and attractive places in
which to live, work and visit, whilst ensuring they are social, cultural and services
hubs for the local community.
“The ‘Town Centres First’ policy contains a major new strategy to tackle vacancy,
combat dereliction and breathe new life into town centres. This has been a key
priority for Fine Gael and something on which we have been working hard. A recent
policy paper by my colleagues Deputy Emer Higgins and Senator John Cummins put
forward 26 proposals for consideration, which could enhance by over 10,000 the
number of vacant homes becoming available for early use.
“This major new policy is going to be a game changer for Tipperary with local
communities and local businesses central to reimagining and planning their own
futures through a tailored plan. Our towns will benefit from Government funding,
which will emphasise the importance of town centres as the central hub of our
“It is really important that this ambitious programme be backed up by significant
“It is underpinned by multi-billion euro investment spread across major Government
schemes such as the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF), the
Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), Crói Conaithe (Towns) Fund
and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. Last year, over €410 million was
distributed nationwide under the URDF and I understand a new call will be opened
shortly, focused specifically on support for our town centres in places like Tipperary.
“For the first time, towns will also gain their own dedicated Town Regeneration
Officers, who will be crucial to driving future development. They will be full-time
dedicated positions within Tipperary County Council working with Town Teams and
local business groups to design and implement town plans. They will also work to
identify derelict buildings and assist in bringing them back into use, a key objective of
the Town Centre First policy,” Deputy/Senator Garret Ahearn said.
Publishing the plan, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather
Humphreys TD, said:
“Many of our towns face significant challenges, not least in the wake of the
pandemic. Town revival requires a coordinated and comprehensive response.
Through Town Centre First, the Government will provide towns with the supports,
resources and funding to enable them map out a coherent vision for their future and
to take ownership of their future. Major funding programmes such as the Rural
Regeneration and Development Fund and the Urban Regeneration and
Development Fund will help transform towns. This approach will help ensure that
across Ireland our town centres can be vibrant and attractive places to live, work and
The Minister of State for Planning and local Government, Peter Burke TD, said:
“Local authorities will play a vital role in assisting towns shape their futures. Town
Regeneration Officers and technical expertise will assist local Town Teams in
formulating their local responses and accessing regeneration funding. The National
Town Centre First Office will help drive this new approach to revitalising town centres
and bring together the stakeholders who can help towns realise a vision for their
“We know that many of our town centres are underutilised for housing, and have
limited housing choice despite being close to all amenities and public services. We
are determined to act on this and ensure that we tackle dereliction by providing new
and much needed housing supply within our town boundaries”.