€414,270 funding approved for Cabragh Wetlands Thurles

Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government announced today that he has given sanction for North Tipperary LEADER Partnership to approve funding of €372,843 and South Tipperary Development Company to approve funding of €41,427.06 to Cabragh Wetlands Trust, for the development of an existing community trust building into an environmental tourism/educational centre for community and visitor usage, at Cabragh Wetlands, Thurles, Co Tipperary.  Funding will be provided under the Implementing Co-operation Projects and associated Basic services for the economy and rural population measures of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.


Announcing the funding Minister Hogan said:


“This project is an inter-territorial project involving the co-operation of both North Tipperary Leader Partnership and South Tipperary Development Company.  It consists of the renovation of the existing Cabragh Wetlands building, a major community-based environmental training and tourist attraction in mid-Tipperary. With its enhanced 1936 square foot visitor information training centre and multi-function auditorium with lift facilities to an upstairs café and viewing area, it will be of immense benefit to Thurles and its hinterland.  I know it will improve the quality of life and will strengthen the social and economic fabric for all the inhabitants of the area.”


The LEADER elements of the Programme offer many challenges and opportunities in terms of addressing the needs of improving the quality of life in rural areas and providing greater opportunities for farm diversification.  It is focused on the development of micro-enterprises, rural services, rural recreation and rural tourism. It is hoped that, by focusing on these services, the Programme will lead to sustainable development, which in turn will ensure prosperity for the rural areas.


The Minister added “the project will now go back to the Board of North Tipperary LEADER Partnership for the final approval on the project. This is in line with the EU’s “bottom-up” approach to rural development”.


The Rural Development Programme for Ireland

The Rural Development Programme for Ireland 2007-2013 is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).


Axes 3 and 4 focus on the delivery of LEADER-type activities and have an allocation of approximately €370m.  (Axes 1 and 2 of the Programme cover a range of on-farm support measures, including REPs and Farm Waste Management).
The measures to be funded under the Programme are:

·                    Diversification into non-agricultural activities for farm families – e.g. Development of niche tourism and educational services such as arts and crafts, open farms etc

·                    Support for business creation and development -e.g. Support to start a new business or expand an existing enterprise including the adoption of new technologies.

·                    Encouragement of tourism activities – e.g. Maintenance of vernacular features in a way that protects the heritage of the features such as disused railway lines and canal towpaths.

·                    Basic services for the economy and rural population – e.g. Identification and provision of appropriate cultural and leisure facilities to local communities, not otherwise available to them.

·                    Village renewal and development  – e.g. Farmers Markets

·                    Conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage – e.g. Alternative or renewable energy actions addressing suitability of new technologies to meet community energy needs.

·                    Training and information on adapted and new skills – e.g. Development of training facilities in rural areas (fixed or mobile)

·                    Implementing co-operation projects 

Skills acquisition and animation

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