Donegal has hit the jackpot with the latest Rural Regeneration funding package.
The county is to receive a whopping €21.3M in support of three major projects.
The three projects are located in Carndonagh, Ballybofey and Burtonport/Arranmore.
Carndonagh is to receive Government Funding of €8,218,982 with overall figure – €9,542,852 (inclusive of funding from Donegal County Council)
The TÚS Nua Regeneration Project, Carndonagh, includes the restoration of vacant town-centre buildings to provide a new Digital Fabrication Laboratory and Co-Working Hub, a social space for young people and teenagers. It also includes the restoration of a stone outbuilding to a Creative Makers Hub for creative and craft industries. The project will support the sustainable development of the town core that will enable social, economic and cultural renewal, in transforming the town centre of Carndonagh.
Ballybofey is to receive Government Funding of €8,781,272 with an overall figure of €9,756,969 (inclusive of funding from Donegal County Council.)
The Seed Project (Strengthen, Engage, Enable, Deliver) in Ballybofey/Stranorlar is for a large-scale regeneration of Ballybofey by restoring social, cultural, community and economic purpose and function to the centre of the town. The project will implement regeneration interventions to revitalise the town centre and drive it forward as a vibrant, liveable, diverse and competitive centre of scale. It includes the restoration and redevelopment of the Ritz Heritage Building as a 1400sq.m Enterprise Hub.
Burtonport/Arranmore will receive Government Funding of €1,854,677.43 with overall funding of €2,060,752.70 (inclusive of funding from Donegal County Council.)
The Ailt an Chorráin (Burtonport) Harbour Redevelopment will deliver Phase 2 of the Burtonport/ Árainn Mhór project to regenerate a maritime gateway to the Island. The project will deliver opportunities for economic, social and cultural renewal, increasing footfall in the area and improving the overall experience of those using the harbour, in turn strengthening the emerging tourism potential of the area and driving economic recovery through the creation of employment opportunities.
Deputy Joe McHugh said he was delighted by the funding announcement.
He said “This funding package will see Carndonagh receive just over €9.5 million and Ballybofey/ Stranorlar supported under this stream, receiving €9.7Million. Burtonport has been successful also, receiving €2million, following their receipt of funding of €3.1M to improve infrastructure around the mainland harbour and amenities in Árainn Mhór in late 2019.”
Killybegs were also successful in previous rounds of funding, receiving €3.6M to turn an old building into a tourist information centre and digital hub, as well as €2M for Swan Park, and €2.3M for Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair.
Last month, Letterkenny was successful under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) seeing the town benefit by over €18 million in funding to help deliver the ambitious Letterkenny 2040 project, through investment in infrastructure, improving transport and connectivity, quality and location of housing, as well as recreational and cultural facilities.
“The Rural Regeneration Project has had a positive effect in Donegal over a number of years now, with many projects being supported in our County in recent years.
“I worked closely with former Minister Michael Ring while he was responsible for Rural Affairs, and I am delighted to see Minister Heather Humphreys continue with this positive work.
“I would like to acknowledge Paul Kelly and his team at Donegal County Council, who have been working closely with Minister Heather Humphreys and her Department officials, for their sterling efforts and for forwarding such strong applications to attract such important funding
“We can see the massive benefit these projects have in our regions, for our young people, our families and local community enterprise and voluntary groups.
“Heather Humphreys and I met in recent days with a number of constituents in Donegal, business owners and enterprise centre managers at the “Shape Your Future” virtual event. The majority of people polled at this meeting would love to see a hybrid option when it comes to remote working, and this is where our digital enhancements and hubs will be of benefit in our communities.
“Donegal has a strong presence of digital hubs in the County with some still under construction. Funding commitments have been secured for Kerrykeel, Carrigart, Buncrana and Kilcar, Gaoth Dobhair and Oileán Árainn Mhór are already up and running, through their involvements with Donegal County Council, Údarás na Gaeltachta, DLDC and Donegal Local Enterprise Office.
“I have been working closely with Cllr Bernard McGuinness on the Carndonagh project, and with Cllr Martin Harley in Twin Towns, and both are delighted to see these communities, who have been working hard on these proposals and projects over a number of years, successful in this round of funding.
“I wish to congratulate all those involved in these community projects, in TÚS Nua (Spraoi agus Spórt) in Carndonagh, the SEED project in Ballybofey/Stranorlar and Comharchumann Árainn Mhóir and all involved in the Burtonport Redevelopment Project on their hard work and dedication to ensuring these proposals have become a reality for our communities and for Donegal,” concluded McHugh.
Local Fianna Fail county councillor Patrick McGowan also welcomed the overall funding but said the money was a game-changer for his area of Ballybofey.
He said “We have been working behind the scenes on this project for a while now and I would like to pay tribute to Donegal County Council for taking the initiative on this.
“They got behind this project and this has the potential to be a game-changer for the people of Ballybofey and the Twin Towns.”
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Donegal TD, Charlie McConalogue, also welcomed the announcement and said: “This funding is crucially important for Carndonagh, the Twin Towns, Burtonport and their surrounding villages and hinterlands. The projects, supported by these funds, will revitalise and reinvigorate Carndonagh, the Twin Towns and Burtonport and will provide long lasting futures for these wonderful towns. This funding is especially important for these towns given their proximity to the border and impacts by Brexit and COVID-19.”
The Minister continued “A key priority of mine in entering politics and in entering government was to encourage and promote regeneration of our rural towns and villages. This is a key priority of our Government too and while at the Cabinet table I will continue to press the importance of further funding and investment into rural Ireland.”
“I particularly thank Minister Humphreys, as well as my government colleagues Senator Blaney and Deputy McHugh with whom I’ve worked together to push to secure these projects. Tremendous credit goes to Donegal County Council and their regeneration team for their excellent quality work, the tremendous leadership and effort shown by Spraoi agus Spórt for Tús Nua, SEED and Harbour to Island regeneration project teams for the great work on these projects. I also acknowledge my party colleagues Councillors Martin McDermot, Patrick McGowan and Noreen McGarvey for working with these groups to drive these projects forward and get them concluded” concluded the Minister.