Four Laois towns get over €100k for Covid-19 street safety improvements

lynda kiernan

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lynda kiernan

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Four Laois towns get over €100k for Covid-19 street safety improvements

Portarlington among four towns to get funding for Covid-19 street improvements

Four towns in Laois are among 106 towns and villages around Ireland to benefit immediately from €2.8 million in funding, announced this August Bank Holiday Monday.

The funding is to help communities to shop, socialise and work safely in light of Covid-19 Pandemic. 

Laois has got a total of €107,500, for work in Abbeyleix, Mountmellick, Mountrath and Portarlington.

Abbeyleix gets €40,000 to erect a semi-permanent modular canopy structure between the existing library and the fountain within Market Square.

Mountmellick, Mountrath and Portarlington all get the same sum each of €22,500 for "modification and enhancement of the Public Realm to help comply with social distancing and encourage increased footfall".

Laois County Council has already invested in such measures in Portlaoise.

Cllr Tom Mulhall has welcomed the cash for Portarlington.

"I have been informed this morning by Minister Martin Heydon and Minister Heather Humphreys that Portarlington has received €22,500 in Covid-19 supports. This will help rejuvenate towns and improve facilities in community centres and to help people who are working locally. This is very welcome news as Portarlington is an important commuter and local business town and this funding will help encourage people to shop, socialise and work in the town. I will be also be working to ensure that Laois County Council takes whatever action necessary to further support Portarlington to recover after the difficulties brought on by Covid-19," he said.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today Monday, August 3, announced details of the first €2.8 million in funding approvals from her Department to help rural towns and villages to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full July Stimulus Package includes an additional €10m for towns and villages,  €5 million for upgrading and improving community centres and €2 million extra to support the islands

This first tranche of funding under the enhanced Town and Village Renewal Scheme recognises the need to support rural businesses and communities to rebuild in response to COVID-19.

Practical examples for which the funding will be used include:

Ø  Widening walkways and footpaths to provide seating for shoppers

Ø  Providing sheltered areas outside local amenities

Ø  Enhancements to community centres to allow for remote working

Ø  Adapting community spaces, playgrounds and other outdoor areas for social distancing

Ø  Supporting the establishment of ‘Cycle Cafes’.

Speaking today, Minister Humphreys said:

“It is vitally important that we increase footfall in rural towns and villages by supporting them to adapt to this ‘new normal’ as a result of COVID-19.

This funding will benefit communities by altering the streetscapes so that people can shop, work and socialise safely.

I have increased the funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme as part of the €17 million rural package that my Department secured under the July Jobs Stimulus. This means that even more towns and villages will benefit from supports.”

Minister Humphreys continued:

“Local Authorities throughout the country have been developing creative and innovative proposals to increase footfall and assist businesses in our rural towns and villages. 

This tranche of funding announced today is part of an enhanced €25 million Town and Village Scheme which will continue to rejuvenate rural communities across Ireland.

Further approvals under this hugely popular scheme will follow in a series of funding rounds that will be announced in the coming weeks. I expect that up to 500 towns and villages will be supported this year under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.”