Fine Gael TD, Joe Carey feels the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Ireland will help to revitalise Co Clare by bringing tangible benefits to its communities.
Taoiseach, Enda Kenny launched the plan at the beginning of the which contains more than 270 targeted actions to help deliver these benefits to people all over the county.
“On a local level, I am delighted that the Shannon Group will be playing a central role in the development of an Atlantic Economic Corridor to promote more balanced regional development. This is one of the major strategies to stimulate job creation in the western counties and further supports will also be provided to companies to meet the challenges of Brexit,” Deputy Carey explained.
Among the key initiatives being undertaken by the Shannon Group is the ongoing investment of €21million to provide new and upgraded property solutions to attract foreign direct investment and encourage indigenous Irish industries to locate in the Mid-West region. The Group has also been charged with creating appropriate incentives to attract further businesses to join the existing aviation industry cluster in the International Aviation Services Centre in Shannon.
In conjunction a new incubation space in Shannon to encourage start-up businesses and rural entrepreneurs by the end of the year will be provided.
Carey continued, “The Action Plan also envisages an important role for Shannon Airport in increasing the number of visitors to rural Ireland by 12 per cent over the next three years by increasing the number of existing routes and services through the airport. Tourism is crucial to the economy of rural Ireland and many livelihoods are dependent on it here in Clare. We will invest €6 million in the development of our Blueways to support recreational tourism and €10 million in our National Parks and Nature Reserves to support niche tourism The Action Plan aims to support the revitalisation of more than 600 rural towns and villages which will involve an annual investment of up to €37 million in rural development schemes such as the Town and Village renewal Scheme, the CLÁR Programme and the Rural Recreation Programme.
“A number of Clare’s towns and villages were badly affected by the recession and part of Fine Gael’s Action Plan will review planning legislation to allow the change of use of vacant commercial properties in rural towns and villages. I hope to see this having an impact in towns like Kilrush, Killaloe, Ennistymon and Scariff. There will also be a new pilot scheme to encourage increased residential occupancy in towns and villages.
“Broadband is crucial to many people in rural Ireland, particularly those trying to run a business. The Government is allocating an initial €275 million to implement the National Broadband Plan and will be implementing the recommendations of Report of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce. Every Local Authority in the country will have a Local Digital Strategy and broadband officers to see this through.
“We will invest €4 billion under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme, including €250 million in the LEADER Programme. Sports and recreation play a major part in the Action Plan with planned investment of €50 million in sports, recreation and cultural facilities throughout the country, which will have a positive impact on communities here in Clare”, Deputy Carey concluded.