Lowry – Brings home the Bacon

Thurles.Info has learned that North Tipp Deputy Michael Lowry has gained assurances from the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, that fifteen additional staff from the Equality Authority will now transfer to Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. This will bring the staff serving in Roscrea up to thirty.

The Office of Public Works are finalising matters in relation to the office accommodation and the target date for the transfer of staff is the first week of January 2009.

This staff cohort includes the top management team of the Authority and other staff, who were either recruited or promoted on the basis of moving to Roscrea under the Department’s decentralisation programme.Lowry welcomed the move as an important boost for Roscrea.

This good news comes on the back of an earlier announcement from Mr Lowry that significant funding of €20.8 million for Tipperary is on the way under the LEADER Rural Development Programme for 2007 to 2013.

This allocation is divided into €9,708,008 for North Tipperary and €11,106,187 for projects in the South of the County. Thurles.Info understands that this is the largest amount of funding ever announced for rural projects in Tipperary.

The funding will be aimed at furthering the continued development of rural communities all over the county over the course of the next 5 years.

The projects will include:

  • Encouragement of Tourism Activities
  • Helping with Diversification to non-agricultural activities
  • Support for Business Creation
  • Village Renewal & Development
  • Conservation & Heritage
  • Training & Information

In the North of the county the projects included in the scheme will be administered by the North Tipperary Partnership Company and cover a wide range of activities. This partnership comprises of Roscrea 2000, and Nenagh Community Network. Both of these organisations are now together under the umbrella of North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Co. The CEO of the new company is Michael Murray.

In the South of the county a similar company called the South Tipperary Integrated Local Development Company is to be set up and will be led by John Devane from their offices in Tipperary town.

Of the funding provided 55% comes from the European Union with the remaining 45% coming from the Irish exchequer

Speaking to Thurles.Info Lowry stated: “The LEADER approach has been highly successful for Tipperary and is based on the needs of individuals and communities within its area. It is therefore a ‘bottom up’ approach to development. We are exceptionally lucky in Tipperary to have staff of the calibre of John Devane and Michael Murray and I am confident that they will ensure that their projects deliver for the people of Tipperary. Rural development is an area that I have campaigned vigorously on throughout my political career, and I am delighted that the EU and the State recognise the value of the role of properly funded rural development programmes in ensuring the future viability of rural Ireland.”

Overall national funding for this programme amounts to €425.4 million and represents a central plank of the EU’s Rural development programme for the member states.
LEADER is an EU initiative set up in the early 1990’s to address the problems caused by: –

  1. The declining significance of agriculture and a mismatch between the skills of those leaving agriculture and the skills demanded by employers
  2. Environmental deterioration, deterioration of natural habitats and a lack of awareness of waste management options such as recycling and possibilities for alternative/renewable energy projects
  3. An unbalanced approach to tourism development
  4. A fragmented approach to local development is the communities resulting in a weakened capacity to influence decision makers and to implement projects needed by the community

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