The new NDP points out that 37% of the population currently live in rural areas, which might suggest a 3:1 urban/rural spend. Except it doesn’t. Since the national planning framework “adopts a broader definition of ‘rural’ including smaller settlements with a population between 1,500 and 10,000”, it means “a 2:1 ratio is more appropriate in allocating resources between the two funds”. That will provide some succour to rural communities, as might the money allocated to “strengthened rural economies and communities” — a total budget of €8.8bn that includes €4.5m of exchequer funding on regional and local roads, a €1m rural regeneration and development fund, €800m on agriculture and €800m in non-exchequer funding on state-owned enterprises such as Coillte. The national broadband plan is also mentioned — estimated cost “confidential”.
Read the full article @ The Irish Examiner
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