Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, today (22 April) visited projects in Offaly including Edenderry, Derryounce, Portarlington and the Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails at Kinnitty. These projects have been funded under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme administered by the Minister's Department.
Welcoming Minister Humphreys to Edenderry, Cathaoirleach Declan Harvey noted the transformational change within rural Offaly as a result of funding provided through the Government’s ‘Project Ireland 2040’ and ‘Our Rural Future’ programmes for Rural Regeneration. The projects being progressed will revitalise rural towns and villages in the County, promoting remote working and enhancing outdoor recreation infrastructure, thus contributing towards balanced regional development.
Minister Humphreys officially opened Blundell Avenue, a key 'Phase I' element of the Blundell Master Plan which was funded by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
Councillor Liam Quinn, Edenderry Municipal District Cathaoirleach advised that “the new Avenue unlocks the potential for future private and public investment and it links in with the development of a new Library and Community Space on a long-standing derelict site. The enabling rural regeneration development projects have a transformational potential to assist Edenderry Town tackle vacancy and dereliction, improve town centre connectivity, improve access to amenities and encourage investment into the town centre”.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Declan Harvey today said “Offaly County Council’s vision for Edenderry is to create a town centre that is a vibrant and attractive location for people to live, work and visit, while also serving as a social, cultural and recreational hub for the local community”.
Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney said that “The Rural Regeneration & Development Fund has allowed projects of scale to be delivered in Offaly that otherwise would not be possible. With the Department and members of Offaly County Council’s support, I look forward to progressing more regeneration projects into the future.”
Derryounce Lakes and Trails, Co. Offaly just outside Portarlington were next on Minister Humphreys' itinerary. Funding for this amenity project was secured under the Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure Scheme and includes trail enhancements and improved accessibility to the amenity. Derryounce Lakes and Trails is a popular community amenity with potential for further development. Minister Humphreys’ Department has also funded the preparation of a 10-year development plan for Derryounce, currently at tender stage, which will set out a blueprint for further amenity, sporting & tourism development, potentially utilising various funding streams available over the coming years.
The Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney, complimented the voluntary work carried out by the Portarlington Development Community Association in co-operation with Bord na Mona and Coillte in developing, promoting and maintaining Derryounce Lakes and Trails over the past number of years and committed to supporting this amenity into the future.
Later that day, Minister Humphreys visited Kinnitty village where she officially opened a new community hub building in the centre of Kinnitty Village. This building, which will provide much needed toilet and shower facilities for visiting bikers was funded through LEADER and Community Enhancement grant through the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Harvey said “Today officially marks a very significant investment in the tourism infrastructure in the region, which enhances the offering of the Slieve Bloom area, including Kinnitty to both the resident and the visitor. The Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails is a fantastic tourism attraction for Offaly and the wider Slieve Bloom area which has already made an extremely positive impact in the area from an economic, social and environmental perspective.”
For further information, please contact
Olwen Cummins, Project Coordinator of Regeneration Team, Planning, Offaly County Council email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 087 7472256.
Photos of the days events are available at
Offaly Co Co - Ministers Visit - Paul Moore Photography
Rural Development Investment Programme
The Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Investment Programme includes a number of integrated funding interventions:
• Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF)
• Town and Village Renewal Scheme
• Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme
• Local Improvement Scheme
• Walks Scheme
The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund
The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was established to deliver on the National Strategic Objective in the National Development Plan of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities. The Fund is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The Fund provides investment to support suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas, which will deliver on the National Strategic Objective of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities and achieve sustainable economic and social development in these areas.
Calls for applications to the Fund are sought under two categories. Category 1 relates to projects with all necessary planning and other consents in place and which are ready to proceed, while Category 2 projects are those which required further development to become ready for Category 1 status.
The Department’s new rural development policy, Our Rural Future, was launched in March 2021. The policy is the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in decades. The funding from the RRDF is provided to further the aims of Our Rural Future, which highlighted the need to build strongly on existing investment and to strive for even greater ambition to achieve significant and rapid progress on the objective of balanced regional development.
Our Rural Future
Our Rural Future is the whole-of-government policy for rural Ireland for the period 2021-2025. It represents a new milestone in the approach to rural development policy for Ireland and adopts a more strategic, ambitious and holistic approach to investing in and maximising opportunities for rural areas.