PLAN TO UPGRADE RURAL LOUTH
AN innovative new plan revitalise rural Ireland should revitalise a number of Louth villages, the Argus has learned
The Action Plan for Rural Ireland which was launched on Monday is aimed at bringing ‘ tangible benefits to people and communities’ in up to 600 rural areas of the country, including in many parts of Louth.
The Government’s new Action Plan for Rural Ireland contains over 270 targeted actions that will help to deliver these benefits to people here in Louth and East Meath.’
Welcoming the announcement of the targeted programme, Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd said: ‘A number of towns and villages across Louth were badly affected by the recession of recent years and part of this 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 Dunleer and Ardee and many other towns and villages throughout the County. There will also be a new pilot scheme to encourage increased residential occupancy in towns and villages.’
He added that services such as broadband are crucial to many people in rural Louth, particularly those trying to run a business.’
‘I am pleased that 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.
He added that €4 billion has been pledged under the 20142020 Rural Development Programme, including €250m in the LEADER Programme.
‘ Tourism is crucial to the economy of rural Ireland and many livelihood’s are dependent on it here in Louth. 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 Louth TD added: ‘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 the County, there are many rural sports and recreational clubs that will benefit from this announcement.
‘We have seen how a targeted and monitored approach worked with our Action Plan for Jobs, reducing unemployment from 15.2% at its height in the recession, to 7.8% as it currently stands. This action plan for rural Ireland will see all government departments working to revitalise and strengthen rural Ireland for the benefit of all who live there.’