10th June 2021 | Green Gazette

Green Ministers announce funding for reading programmes, tourism, sports, volunteer groups and decarbonisation


Minister Martin announces major boost for Ireland and tourism with €73million investment in new world-class visitor experiences

A major investment of €73million to develop four new world-class Irish tourist attractions was announced by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, this week.

Fáilte Ireland is investing €44.3million of the total investment in what Minster Martin is describing as “the most significant investment in visitor attractions ever undertaken by Fáilte Ireland that will have far-reaching national and regional economic benefits.”

Up to 8,000 direct and indirect jobs are set to be created and sustained across the regional economy over the next 10 years as a result of this investment and it’s expected over €290million will be generated from domestic and international visitors. Fáilte Ireland’s economic analysis states every €1million spent by tourists helps to supports 27 jobs in the Irish tourism sector.

“This significant funding announcement will ensure world-class visitor attractions are created that will attract domestic and international tourists to the four locations which will not just benefit the counties where they’re located but will motivate people to stay longer and explore more widely across the region”, Minister Martin said.

Minister O’Brien Launches the Summer Stars Programme for 2021

Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, has launched the Summer Stars Reading Adventure, which is a reading programme that will take place in library branches over the summer months. This programme is being supported by a range of online activities such as story time sessions, quizzes and a national short story competition taking place in public libraries throughout the country.

“The Summers Stars programme is a fantastic annual event which sees libraries delivering a reading programme and a variety of activities for the whole family, such as online story time sessions, quizzes and a national short story competition. The range of activities being provided also includes treasure hunts, magic shows, Harry Potter nights, craft workshops, Summer Book Bus and LEGO challenges,” Minister O’Brien said.

“Summer Stars is free to all children and I encourage parents and children to contact their local library and get involved.”

The programme is in its eighth year and the focus of the campaign is to support and co-ordinate children and families in literacy and reading development activities.


Ministers Martin and O’Brien welcome €5.9 million for Sport and Physical Activity Measures through Dormant Accounts Funding

Sport Ireland this week announced an investment package of €5.9million in Dormant Accounts Funding for a wide range of sport and physical activity measures countrywide. The investment aims to engage communities across the country, focusing on people with disabilities, people who are educationally disadvantaged and from disadvantaged communities.

“Addressing inequalities in sports participation is a key action within the National Sports Policy 2018-2027 and a key priority for Government”, Minister Catherine Martin TD said.

“This significant investment targeting people who are economically, socially or educationally disadvantaged or who have a disability is very welcome. In particular, it is good to see a focus on programme innovation, the enhancement of the urban outdoor environment and empowering community leaders to deliver projects and programmes at a community level. Through this funding sport and physical activity will become increasingly accessible to all.”

Minister Joe O’Brien TD welcomed the announcement of the disbursement of dormant funds for these sports measures: “Dormant Accounts funding makes a real difference to individuals and communities right across the country. These sporting measures will help increase participation in sport and physical activity in local communities”.

Minister Ryan announces €12 million to improve energy efficiency and support decarbonisation in higher education

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD this week announced funding of €12 million for the second call of the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme for the higher education sector – doubling the funding made available for the first call last year.

This is a key climate action measure, which will support higher education institutions in making progress towards 2030 targets of a 50% improvement in energy efficiency and 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  The pathfinder programme will continue to test a range of building retrofit approaches to build evidence and capability in the sector, and to inform decisions as larger scale programmes are rolled out in the future.

“Our higher education campuses are where our young people come to learn and share ideas, and they are also places of research and innovation”, Minister Ryan said. “So it’s appropriate that this sector is taking a lead role in energy efficiency and climate action. Our target of achieving at least 50% emissions reduction by 2030 is challenging but we are determined to achieve it. I’m impressed with what has already been done in this sector and am delighted that we are increasing the funding for another round of projects through the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme.” 

Minister Ryan announces €6.5m additional COVID-19 supports for Taxi, Hackney and Limousine Operators

The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D, has today announced a €6.5m support package for Taxi, Hackney and Limousine operators, also known as the Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) Industry.

The new sectoral package, developed following consultation with the Advisory Committee on SPSVs, will directly assist SPSV drivers in their recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing the following supports:

  • €3 million for the continued waiver of vehicle licence fees in 2022
  • €2 million for a once-off Motor Tax Refund scheme specifically for taxi and hackney operators
  • €1.5 million for a NCT fee refund scheme

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on our Taxi industry. While our society now begins to recover from the impacts of this pandemic, I am keen to remove as many cost barriers as possible for our SPSV drivers to return to work. The €6.5 million financial package I have announced today will give operators the consistent support they require over the rest of this year and into the year 2022.”

Minister O’Gorman delivers €7m funding for Community and Voluntary Sector organisations

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman TD has announced the provision of a €7m funding for approximately 700 Community and Voluntary Sector organisations funded by Tusla, Child and Family Agency to deliver essential frontline services to children, young people and their families. The Minister has appreciated the tireless commitment and innovation displayed by the sector in adapting services to respond to the needs of families throughout the crisis associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Budget 2021, the Minister secured €61 million additional funding for Tusla – the largest increase since the establishment of the Agency in 2014. Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Services, funded by Tusla have already been allocated an additional €4.7m in 2021. Today’s increased allocation reflects the Minister’s stated commitment to support the community and voluntary sector organisations in receipt of funding from Tusla under Section 56 of the Child and Family Agency Act.

“I am really pleased to announce this increase of €7m in funding for some 700 organisations working with children and families across the State”, Minister O’Gorman said. “In securing the significant increase in Tusla’s budget in 2021 I wanted to ensure that the community and voluntary sectors which are supported by Tusla receive additional funding supports. In 2021, I have ensured that in total €11.7m of additional funding is being provided to these organisations funded by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.”

“This funding is critical in supporting the essential infrastructure of services and supports we have in place for children and their families, many of whom are experiencing compounded challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.”