The government has been accused of “choking” every village in rural Ireland as Kilkenny areas are left in limbo over whether or not their applications under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme were successful.
The Castlecomer Municipal District meeting heard that there are 12 areas awaiting determination in respect of the success or otherwise of their applications for funding from the €20 million allocated for rural town and village regeneration.
Director of Services at Kilkenny County Council, Simon Walton, told members that there was “no feedback yet” from the Department of Culture and Heritage on which applications were successful.
Mr Walton said: “This is the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme and we’re now in September.”
He says it will be 2018 before the proposals in the applications are completed, provided they are successful.
Fianna Fáil Councillor, Pat Fitzpatrick, said: “The Department are choking every village in rural Ireland. We’re sitting here, waiting and wondering.”
Cllr Fitzpatrick says the applications from Kilkenny included: Castlecomer, Piltown, Graignamanagh and Thomastown which are “all so important to their community”.
Mr Walton told the meeting that there were originally 15 Kilkenny towns and villages seeking to apply for funding under the scheme but three of these were not as far along in their applications.
The Town and Village Renewal Scheme was launched in 2016 to start the process of rejuvenating rural towns and villages.
Under last year’s scheme Ballyhale, Kells, Piltown and Urlingford received €95,000 each. In April of this year the Department said the funding for 2017 would be made available through councils over the next 15 months.