Sinn Féin member of the Agriculture Committee Declan McAleer MLA has welcomed the additional detail announced by Minister Michelle O’Neill regarding the new £623 million Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020.
Mr McAleer stated,
“The Rural Development Programme is an important strategy in developing the rural economy and this money will ensure that we can continue to build communities and local businesses.
“The money will be used in developing the Agri-Food industry, protecting the environment and improving facilities and infrastructure in the rural communities.
“Amongst the programmes that will benefit will be a range of measures aimed at encouraging the economic development of our rural areas.
"A £27m Rural Business Investment Scheme will provide support for investments in the creation and development of non agricultural activities.
“There will also be a Rural Basic Services Scheme and money made available to improve Rural Broadband Scheme.
“Other schemes aimed at developing our rural economies include a Rural Tourism Scheme, a Village Renewal Scheme and an All Island co-operation Scheme
“Money has also been set aside for the running costs of the Local Action Groups bringing the total investment to over £623m.
“This is the largest amount of money that has ever been earmarked for rural development and will allow rural areas to access services others take for granted as well a being a catalyst for economic regeneration.
“This strategy has the potential to create thousands of jobs and I look forward to seeing this money invested in order to maximise that potential.”