Tourism projects in County Roscommon and the Ballinasloe Municipal District are set to benefit from a new €68 million fund allocated to Fáilte Ireland as part of the EU’s Just Transition Fund.
The funds will focus on the existing tourism and Bord na Mona infrastructure with the objective of providing new employment opportunities for workers and communities impacted by the closure of Lanesboro and Shannonbridge power stations.
Projects across the midland counties of Laois, Westmeath, Offaly, Longford, Roscommon, Galway, Tipperary and Kildare will be supported under four strands: Trail Development; Visitor Amenities; Alternative Low Carbon Accommodation and Smart Specialisation, which involves digital transformation.
Welcoming the announcement, local Independent TD Denis Naughten said it was imperative the funding was aimed at projects that can deliver long-term sustainable employment.
“The closure of the power stations in Lanesboro and Shannonbridge has had a huge impact on the local economy not just in terms of immediate job losses, but also in terms of the impact that this spending had on the sustainability of many other businesses and communities,” he said.
“It is now imperative that Fáilte Ireland engages with local communities to consider how they can build upon their existing tourism infrastructure and redevelop existing public lands and access into long-term tourism sustainable tourism projects”.
Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan said a number of community groups were successful in the first round of funding in 2020.
“Now, Minister Eamon Ryan has confirmed that a total of €29 million will be available in 2023 under the national and EU Just Transition Funds (EUJTF).
“This fund is due to be launched in early 2023 and will be managed by Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly. This is a great opportunity for significant investment in projects across Roscommon and Ballinasloe Municipal District,” she said.
News of the funding was warmly welcomed by members at Monday’s monthly meeting of Roscommon County Council.
Cllr. Orla Leyden and Cllr. Kathleen Shanagher are part of a collaboration group between Roscommon and Longford local authorities, which was established in response to the closure of Lanesboro power station. Cllr. Leyden called on the Chief Executives and Directors of Services from both Roscommon and Longford County Councils to meet with the group in order to maximise funding.