Funding from Budget 2019 will ensure the rural communities in Clare will feel the benefits of the recovering economy, Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has said.
Deputy Carey, who is chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Rural and Community Affairs said he was delighted to see the Government’s continued responsible and balanced approach to the public finances.
“Rural Ireland has borne the brunt of the austerity measures introduced after Fianna Fail made a mess of our economy. Today people living in rural Clare need new support measures to help deal with current threats, such as the impending Brexit.
“Fine Gael recognises these challenges which is why the Department of Rural and Community Development was formed in 2017.
“Budget 2019 provides for an additional €53 million capital and €8 million current allocations for the Department of Rural and Community Development in 2019.
“The most significant new expenditure measure for the Department in 2019 is the establishment of the new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which has a provision of €55 million in 2019 and €315 million up to 2022. This will ensure a fair distribution of funding throughout the country.
“This fund represents an unprecedented commitment by this Government to strengthen our rural economies and communities.
“In 2019 funding will also be maintained across the following programmes to support economic and social development of rural towns and villages –
Town and Village renewal – supporting economic development of rural towns and villages
Leader funding – capital funding to support economic development, job creation, social inclusion and environmental protection in rural areas -.
Clar – targeted investment where population decline – small scale infrastructural projects to make areas attractive to live in.
Local improvement scheme – improvement works to non-public roads.
Rural recreation schemes – developing enhancing recreational infrastructure throughout the country.
“Fine Gael know that agriculture is a cornerstone of our rural communities, which is why support the sector and in particular, disadvantaged farmers, an additional €57 million of current expenditure will be allocated to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2019.
“€60 million in current and capital Brexit related supports will be provided to improve resilience in the farm sector, as along with supporting productivity improvements in the food sector.
“SMEs provide most of our employment and additional Government support for this sector is crucial in light of Brexit.
“The launch of a Future Growth Loan Scheme for SMEs and the agriculture and food sector will greatly benefit rural communities in Clare. Government will bring new legislation to implement this scheme which will provide up to €300 million.
“The Government will provide more targeted investment to meet the skills and education needs of the labour market with over 15,000 new places in the higher education and further education and training sectors including:
“To reflect concerns on crime Minister Donohoe is increasing the budget of An Garda Síochána by €60 million or 3.5 per cent.
“This increase allows for recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí and will support Commissioner Harris to drive the reforms that our citizens deserve.
“In terms of The Government is investing over €1.8 billion to support children with special educational needs. This will allow for up to an additional 950 Special Needs Assistants to be recruited in 2019, bringing the total number to over 15,900.
“Supports have also been announced to support the expansion of the film industry across the country. To ensure all areas of our country can benefit from the film industry a new, time-limited, regional uplift of an additional 5 per cent that will taper out over 4 years is being introduced next year,” Deputy Carey concluded.