In a bid to re-purpose old buildings to benefit rural communities across Ireland, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD has announced funding of over €4.5 million to tackle dereliction and vacancy in rural Ireland.

The funding will support local authorities to purchase and re-develope 24 projects for community use. Included is former garda stations, schools, post offices, parish halls and vacant sites.

Addressing the challenges of vacancy

Announcing the scheme, Minister Heather Humphrey has said: “This initiative is all about giving our local communities the tools to address the challenges of vacancy and dereliction in their towns and villages. Through this funding, we are taking those run-down buildings and turning them into facilities that will benefit communities for generations to come".

The aim of this project according to Minister Heather Humphreys is to help drive footfall into town centres and increase tourism in rural towns and villages by making them a better place to live and work.

“This scheme is underpinned by ‘Our Rural Future’ – our five-year rural development policy, which has changed Rural Ireland for the better. I am very pleased with the range of buildings which we have been able to support under this initiative, and I look forward to these buildings being developed for community use in the coming months," she said.

Projects awarded funding

Among the 24 projects to be funded under the €4.5 million Building Acquisition Measure are:

  • Ballyroan, Co. Laois: A former national school to be used as a multi-purpose community venue
  • Bellacorrick, Co. Mayo: A former garda barracks for use as a multi-purpose community hub, community gym and remote working hub
  • Enfield, Co. Meath: A former parish hall for use as a multipurpose community space
  • St Margaret’s, Fingal: A former Parochial Hall, Parochial House and Coach House to be converted into multi-purpose community space
  • Villierstown, Co. Waterford: A site with derelict buildings - to regenerate the derelict buildings into a modern permanent structure including a boathouse, camping site, additional parking facilities, multi-purpose community space
  • Belturbet, Co. Cavan: A former bakery for conversion into a multi-purpose community facility
  • Gorey, Co. Wexford: A former Credit Union being developed for 21st century use
  • Leitrim Village, Co. Leitrim: Purchase of a two-storey semi-detached house to create a Blueway Hub
  • Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary: Redevelopment of a three-storey former public house and fast foot outlet to convert into a multi-purpose community space.
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