An allocation of more than €1million for the development of a multi-service innovation centre in Ennistymon will lead to job creation and contribute to the economic and community development in North Clare, according to Fine Gael TD Joe Carey.

Deputy Carey, who is Chairman of the Oireachtas committee on rural and community affairs, said he was delighted that Ennistymon was included among the 18 projects that will share €24.4 million from the first tranche of funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).

“€55 million has been allocated to the Fund for 2019 and I have been pressing for more Clare projects to be included in the next phase and further announcements of projects to be funded next year will be made shortly,” he explained.

“Shovel-ready category one projects, such as the Ennistymon innovation centre, will be allocated funding early in the new year and money will also be made available for category two projects which require additional development work. This should enable a pipeline of even more ambitious regeneration projects which can be funded in the years ahead.

“€1,023,300 has been allocated to the Ennistymon innovation centre which will be based in a currently unused 9,000 sq ft building in the town. The centre will provide for private enterprise; public services; and tourism information. Services envisaged include broadband hub: businesses will have access to a hot-desk facility with high speed broadband connectivity.

“This broadband hub is one of a series being developed by Clare County Council as part of the Clare Digital Strategy. A number of incubation units will be provided and a range of services will be available from the main office space with information relating to local tourism; employment opportunities, enterprise, training and supports for community development.

“Intervention programmes with socially disadvantaged sectors will also operate from the centre. Community groups and clients of family support services will have access to a range of services including counselling for children and adults, youth activities, adult education courses, parenting and family support programmes as well as homework clubs specially designed for minority groups such as Traveller and Syrian children.

“It is envisaged that this infrastructure will contribute to the overall sustainability of the community in North West Clare,” Deputy Carey added.

“€1 billion in funding will be allocated over the next 10 years for rural communities with a population of fewer than 10,000, as part of the Project Ireland 2040 plan to redevelop Ireland. The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund aims to rejuvenate smaller towns, villages and rural areas, generate job opportunities in rural areas, and help communities to improve their quality of life.

“Over the next four years, €315 million will be invested in rural communities through the Fund. It’s all about making Rural Ireland a more attractive place to stay, move into or run a business. quickly; these projects will hit the ground running and I look forward to seeing the results.”

“The Government has made a long-term commitment to rural regeneration and development. In addition to further announcements of successful applications early in the New Year, there will also be a fresh call for applications in mid-2019, so to those who have applied to the Fund and were not successful in the first tranche, I assure you the process is not complete,” Deputy Carey concluded.