A €10m small town and village renewal scheme has just been announced by Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, TD.
Grant aid to any qualifying town or village could go to projects such as car parking and recreational facilities. The initiative will also be followed by an action plan the government is preparing for rural regeneration.
“A particular focus will be placed on supporting smaller towns, with populations of less than 5,000 and a lesser number of projects can be supported in each county for towns with a population of up to 10,000,” according to a news report on RTÉ this morning.
Wake-Up Call for Castleisland
Does that sound like a wake-up call for Castleisland – or what. It’s now we need our politicians to do their deeds for the town and surrounding areas.
These parts have been hit as badly as any other and it would have shown up as badly as the worst hit but for the admirable and incessant campaign of the local Tidy Towns group.
Castleisland and its hinterland has been decimated in population and in its business outlook over the best part of the last decade. A series of various business closures and a failure by our elected representatives to throw any light on the dire situation here has sapped the area of hope.
This is in spite of the fact that there are so many spaces available in and around the town could be ideal as medium and small business units. Take the former Aetna building on the Tralee Road Industrial Estate as an example.
Idle Since 2011
That’s been idle since the spring of 2011 when it closed after almost a quarter-of-a-century and with the loss of just over 100 jobs.
The building is now owned by Seamus O’Brien and business partners. In spite of its ideal industrial status being raised in Dáil Éireann by Jimmy Deenihan, Michael Healy Rae and Tom Fleming in their turns it remains empty to this day.
It is true that the woeful financial situation, which was foisted on the shoulders of the people of this country, often excused local politicians from direct blame.
Chink of Light
While we’re not out of the trees yet, there is a chink of light in this morning’s announcement and now is our chance to strike while the iron is red.
There is a well established, often flagged culture of self help here and that’s going back over many years. A dig out now in terms of a nod of positivity from today’s announcement by Minister Humphreys could provide a life-line to a brighter future for the town and its neighbouring villages. And the €10m must be allocated by the end of this year but this will span out to a €30m scheme over a six-year term.
See the RTÉ report of the announcement by Minister Humphreys with a click here. http://www.rte.ie/news/2016/0809/807882-renewal-scheme
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