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24th September 2020 | Press Releases

Oireachtas update: Green Ministers announce funding for environmental upgrades, built heritage and youth clubs

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The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Eamon Ryan TD, this week announced the 39 community projects to receive grant funding of €28 million under the Community Energy Grant Scheme. The grants, administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), will deliver energy upgrades to nearly 1,500 homes and community and commercial buildings throughout the country, providing warmer and healthier buildings, lower energy bills, and reduced harmful CO2 emissions.

“Through this scheme, the Government is helping to deliver three important and very beneficial outcomes,” Minister Ryan said at the launch. “We are supporting people to improve their homes and buildings so they will be more comfortable and waste less energy. We are expanding retrofit work, creating new green sustainable jobs in communities across Ireland and helping to grow companies. We are also cutting emissions thereby delivering a better environment for all of us. I intend to use funding from the recently-announced July stimulus package to expand the Communities scheme so we can further grow the retrofit sector and benefit many more people in the months and years ahead.”


The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, has approved a grant to youth clubs and services as a contribution towards some of the additional costs arising from COVID-19 restrictions. Over 1,500 funded clubs and organisations can avail of €100 capital grant for small works or once-off purchases, and €100 current grant for consumables such as masks, gloves or deep cleaning. The total fund available is some €338,000 nationally.

“We know that young people have been hit hard by the Covid-19 restrictions, particularly in terms of mental health and wellbeing,” Minister O’Gorman said. “We also know the important role that youth services are playing in responding to that.”

“I am pleased therefore to issue new guidance for youth work organisations in light of the Government’s ‘Resilience and Recovery’ plan announced on Tuesday. I would like to recognise the support of our Youth Sector Oversight Group in helping us produce this guidance, and I hope that it provides clarity and assurance to organisations and projects delivering invaluable services to our young people.”

The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, has announced funding of €1m for 52 built heritage projects under the July Jobs Stimulus package. The funding will supplement 28 projects already approved under the Department’s existing Built Heritage Grants as well as 13 new projects categorised as urgent built heritage works.

“The funding will ensure the completion of projects funded through the existing built heritage funding schemes, help prevent the deterioration of some of our valuable structures in urgent need of stabilisation and repair, as well as progress actions under the Climate Change Action Plan in relation to the built heritage estate,” Minister Noonan said. “It will also ensure completion of projects interrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown while helping create employment for the many small businesses, skilled conservation specialists and tradespeople involved in heritage-related construction activity.”

Minister Noonan TD also welcomed the news this week of record numbers of pairs of Roseate Terns at the tern colony on islands in Lady’s Island Lake, County Wexford, and praised the biodiversity commitment of wildlife staff and local community. Lady’s Island Lake is designated as a Special Protection Area for four species of Terns — Sandwich, Arctic, Common & Roseate Terns.

“As with the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s initiatives to boost Curlew and Partridge numbers and restore White-Tailed Eagles to our skies, this is a story of partnership between wildlife staff and the wider community,” Minister Noonan said. “I would like to commend the NPWS staff for their incredible efforts to support the tern population and applaud the people of Wexford for their help in supporting their vital work.”


The Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin TD, has announced the membership of the Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force. Clare Duignan will chair the Task Force, and members will include Denise Chaila, Martin Hayes, the Arts Council, Screen Ireland and the Irish Theatre Institute among others. The Taskforce will prepare a report with a set of recommendations on how best the arts and culture sector can adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the arts and culture sectors. Live performances, theatre, music, and events have all but disappeared from society,” Minister Martin said: “Identifying ways of preserving and re-establishing this once-vibrant, heart-warming, and magical sector will be a mammoth task. The membership of the Task Force that I am appointing holds a wealth of experience and talent and I have no doubt that collectively they will rise to the challenge. I look forward to receiving the Report in due course.”