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Gildernew widens access to RDP

14 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has increased the number of areas eligible to apply for funding under the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013.

Originally the Rural Development Programme defined some areas in the Derry Urban Area and the Belfast Metropolitan Area as urban because they fell within urban boundaries, however they were considered by their communities to be rural.

Outlining her decision the Agriculture and Rural Development Minister said:

"My officials have been working with Statistics Research Agency (NISRA) to review the definition of some areas in the Derry Urban Area and the Belfast Metropolitan Area. This was in response to concerns as to whether rural areas that are on the periphery of urban areas would be eligible for funding from the new Rural Development Programme.

"I can confirm that Strathfoyle, Newbuildings and Culmore in Derry have now been included as eligible areas for the RDP as well as four areas from the Belfast Metropolitan Area, namely Milltown, Helens Bay, Crawfordsburn and Groomsport. This decision will allow a number of farmers, rural dwellers, rural businesses and community groups who were previously excluded from the Rural Development Programme to now apply."

The Minister concluded:

"The Rural Development Programme provides opportunities to build a more sustainable rural economy and improve the quality of local life. I hope that rural dwellers living in these areas will now be able to put to good use the opportunities provided by the programme." ENDS


The addition of Strathfoyle, Newbuildings, Culmore, Milltown, Helens Bay, Crawfordsburn and Groomsport areas will add an extra 11,500 rural dwellers to the programme.

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