The Department of Community and Rural Development have, this morning, announced over 21 million euro under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund to support the revitalisation of rural communities across Ireland, to make a significant and sustainable impact on them, and to address de-population in small rural towns, villages and rural areas. Tipperary Town was one of three applications submitted by the Tipperary County Council, including Nenagh and Holycross.
Reacting to the announcement, Deputy McGrath questioned the reasoning behind the Department’s decision.
“Ministers and Government representatives are continuously talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to Tipperary Town. I have continuously pleaded with them to fund the development of a by-pass for the town, while Minister Ryan has acknowledged the urgent need for this, it is missing from the list of key road infrastructure projects in the recently published National Development Plan. Today’s announcement is yet another snub for the people of Tipperary Town, their local representatives, lobby groups and the hardworking Taskforce which is part funded by the Council and the Government.” Said Deputy McGrath
The comprehensive application submitted by Tipperary Town was considered to be Phase One Revitalisation Plans and was submitted by Tipperary Town Taskforce, under the hard work and dedication of Michael Begley.
The application had three interconnected elements. The application sought funding of over €1.3 million euro to see the renovation, extension and fit out of Dan Breen House into a youth services and further education and training centre, refurbishment, and upgrade of Canon Hayes Recreation Centre into a fit for purpose sport and recreation facility and the development of an equine and sporting tourism attraction at Tipperary Racecourse. This is regarded as a priority project for the regeneration of the town by addressing high unemployment and social exclusion and enhancing the attractiveness of Tipperary town as a place to live, work and visit.
One application in Tipperary has been successful in receiving funding this morning, the Rialto Digital Hub project which has received approval for a €1.1 million project to develop plans for a digital and enterprise hub in the centre of Nenagh in a disused cinema. It also includes plans for the redevelopment of a brownfield site behind the hub, a new streetscape and exploring the potential provision of town centre housing and new public amenity.
“While I commend the project manager and Council Officials for their work in putting together the application, I have to question how one town can receive Rural Regeneration Funding today having received over €9.5 million euro in the Urban Regeneration Development funding last Summer, when the County Town of Clonmel was snubbed.” Continued McGrath
Both the Urban RDF and Rural RDF are Government schemes for town revitalisation projects where the RRDF has been established to support the revitalisation of rural communities, to make a significant and sustainable impact on them, and to address de-population in small rural towns, villages and rural areas while the URDF has been established to support more compact and sustainable development, through the regeneration and rejuvenation of Ireland’s five cities and other large towns.
Deputy McGrath has expressed his concern at the fact that Nenagh has managed to receive funding from both funds, one year after another, while many other towns have been left out.
“It seems to be a direct contradiction that Nenagh can tick the box for both schemes, and it is particularly unfair on the many other small towns across our County who should have a share in the pot of money. There are many other small towns across our county that are more than deserving of the funding announced this morning.”
‘I have long been critical of the amalgamation of North and South Tipperary County Council and the gradual loss of services and in our County town and across South Tipperary. Last year Clonmel’s URDF application lost out to Nenagh and Tipperary Town has now lost out once again to Nenagh and questions must be asked about the continued loss of services and supports throughout South Tipperary to North Tipperary since the amalgamation of the County. The whole county must be given a fair share of the pot regardless of where the power base of the County is based.”
“I want to pay tribute to the Tipperary Town Task force and their volunteers, the lobby groups and Cllr. Anne Marie Ryan for their persistent and commendable hard work in trying to improve Tipperary Town and it is deeply frustrating that their efforts continue to be hit with brick walls.” Concluded McGrath