The Argus - - NEWS -

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.’

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