Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co Offaly, this Wednesday, Minister Humphreys said the bill containing provisions to revise hedgecutting and burning dates would resume its progress “at the committee stage”, where it was left before the last general election. The Seanad session resumes on 28 September.

“It is a priority for me because it is something that has been raised with me on many occasions today,” she said. “I met many different people who said to me that hedgecutting is an issue that they feel very strongly about, that it needs to be addressed, especially in the interest of road safety.”

Minister Humphreys also opened a new €5m phase of funding for Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) following an initial pilot last year.

“The REDZ approach supports better links between rural towns and their hinterlands to generate economic opportunity at a local level,” she said.

Grants of €100,000 to €400,000 are available to cover up to 80% of the cost of projects submitted by local authorities and businesses working together to boost economic ties between towns and the rural areas around them.

Minister Humphreys said the REDZ funding was in addition to the €10m announced for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme last month.

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