Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has visited County Wicklow to open a series of new rural development projects as part of a nationwide tour to promote Our Rural Future.
Our Rural Future is the Government’s new rural development strategy, which aims to revitalise towns and villages, promote remote working, and ensure balanced regional development.
The Minister was joined by Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to officially open the Wicklow Town Library and County Archive.
The project received €1 million from the Library Capital Programme, an additional €3m from the Project Ireland 2040 Urban Regeneration and Development Fund and Wicklow County Council invested some €2 million towards the overall cost of €5.9m.
Speaking at the library opening, Minister Humphreys said, “what has struck me most as I have travelled the country in recent weeks is the sense of resilience that is alive and well in our rural communities. Communities, like Wicklow Town, have rallied together to get through one of the most difficult periods in our country’s history.”
“And as we come out of the other side of Covid-19, my colleagues and I are determined to support communities such as Wicklow in developing really worthwhile projects such as this library facility. I know that the previous library has operated out of the building here beside us for 41 years. So today’s move to this new facility really marks a new chapter for the town.”
Also as part of the tour of the county, Minister Humphreys visited Ballyknocken House in Glenealy to launch the ‘Wicklow Naturally October Feast’, a programme of activities to showcase the abundance of producers in the county.
Speaking at Ballyknocken House the Minister said, “the people here today know well that a vibrant and sustainable agri-food sector is central to Ireland’s economic wellbeing, as well as to supporting rural communities. The project being launched today is exactly the kind of project that Our Rural Future is designed to support.”
“We need to encourage the production of a more diverse range of food and connect small food producers to the end consumer. That’s exactly what Wicklow Naturally will help to deliver for this great county.”
The Minister also opened Wicklow’s Heritage Trail which overlooks Travelahawk Beach and turned on the lights at Wicklow Gaol – part of the Lighting of Heritage Sites initiative;
Speaking about visit to Wicklow to open the rural development projects, Minister Humphreys said, “it has been great to be back in Wicklow again to see first-hand how investment from my Department is supporting our rural communities. The projects I launched today will also play a major role in boosting tourism in Wicklow, as well as acting as significant economic assets in the county.”