MInister of State Pippa Hackett and Cllr Mark Hackett in Daingean.

Two Offaly areas to receive funding for town teams

Two local areas are to receive €10,000 each to develop and strengthen town teams.

Daingean and Portarlington (Offaly side) are to benefit from the initiative announced today by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys.

The funding is from the first ever Town Team Support Fund

A total of 68 towns will be supported with €10,000 in funding per town.

The funding may be used to support the establishment and/or development of town teams where they are not already well established, and to better understand the unique features of towns. The projects will be managed by the DRCD-funded Town Regeneration Officers across the country.

Welcoming the news, Minister of State PIppa Hackett pointed out that the ‘Town Centre First’ policy was created and introduced to the Programme for Government by the Green Party. She welcomed today’s announcement and hailed the towns involved for their effort in working towards more sustainable and vibrant town centres for their residents.

“Daingean and Portarlington both have significant numbers of local residents who commute towards Dublin, with large growth in population over the past generation. Having so many people working away from home presents particular challenges when it comes to creating a lively town centre that caters for all local citizens, but the Town Centre First policy is a crucial ingredient in meeting that challenge head on,” she said.

Cllr Mark Hackett said: “Vibrant towns require active local community groups who understand the needs and strengths of a particular area, and harnessing that energy, insight and skill into the Town Team structure has been proven to have huge benefits.

And Minister Hackett added: “I look forward to working with the Town Teams of Kilmalogue and Daingean, as well as those of Clara, Ferbane and the other existing Town Teams all across Offaly, to make sure that they get every possible support from the government, from Offaly County Council and from us as local elected representatives, and I can’t wait to make sure that this initiative is a huge success, with tangible benefits for all the residents of these proud communities.”

In announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said: “I’m delighted today to announce the first ever dedicated investment in our Town Teams.

“This is all about tackling vacancy, combatting dereliction and breathe new life into our town centres.

“Through this initiative, we are recognising the importance of having vibrant towns, which are places to live in, work in, visit, and raise a family in.

“Town teams are key to rural regeneration and I am delighted that this funding will support the development of these teams and the creation of teams where they currently don’t exist.

“Amongst other things, these Town Teams play a vital role in helping communities access the wide range of funding available from my Department under various schemes”

This funding follows on from the recent announcement of €780,000 which will support the development of a Town Centre First Plan in a further 26 towns. These plans represent the communities own vision for the future of their towns. Locally, Ferbane is among those towns.

Clara received funding under a previous annual Town Centre First Plan allocation.