Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has asked Clare County Council to work with local communities, business interests and state bodies to secure a significant share of €5 million Government fund to support Rural Economic Development.

The Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) initiative provides funding for projects to stimulate economic development in rural towns and their hinterlands. The €5 million fund will cover three major projects qualifying for €400,000 grants per project and nine medium scale projects each qualifying for €200,000 grants. One or two smaller projects in each county will qualify for maximum grants of €100,000.

“The level of funding has been increased to encourage ambitious projects to generate sustainable economic development and job creation in rural areas and I am confident that, with the right approach, we can secure one of the flagship projects for County Clare,” Deputy Carey said.

“I am encouraging Clare County Council to work in partnership with local groups to identify the areas of greatest economic need that can make better use of local assets to generate economic activity.  Projects that could be considered include developing tourism attractions, piloting eCommerce  initiatives and strengthening the supply chain between, producers, retailers and consumers,” he suggested.

“This scheme is all about empowering local communities to provide local residents with local opportunities. Every county will receive approval for at least one REDZ project. The REDZ scheme will provide up to 80per cent financial support for proposed projects, with the balance of costs to be provided from local authorities, business interests or community-based funding.

“Fine Gael is determined to support the people who want to live and work in rural Ireland and to do this we need to harness the human and natural capital that is available in and around rural towns, to create economic opportunity and support job creation,” Deputy Carey concluded.