Senator Aisling Dolan - Strong Voice, New Vision.

Town Centre First Funding for Roscommon

February 28, 2024

Town Centre First Funding for Roscommon

Castlerea wins new Town Centre First Funding

Strokestown Plans move to the next stage


I welcome the Town Centre First funding announcement by Minister Heather Humphreys, Department of Rural, Community Development and Minister of State Kieran O’Donnell with responsibility for Local Government and Planning. Town Centre First Plans were published today for towns across the country selected in the last round of funding including Strokestown in County Roscommon. A new round of funding was announced for 26 towns including Castlerea in Co Roscommon.

The Town Centre First fund is a credit to voluntary Town Teams who are working hard to make their towns vibrant for local community. Volunteers are always welcome and now is the time to get involved with your local Town Team as there is funding and support available.   

This is a great win for Castlerea town, this investment will bring such a boost to the town centre. I know how active the businesses and local community are promoting their town. The Castlerea Town Team, An Chistín Hub and the investment to date in Somers Park show how Castlerea is an important hub of tourism and industry with Harmac Medical a leader in this space. As well as a tourism centre with the Beara Breifne Way along by the River Suck a real draw. The Night & Day music festival was held in Clonalis House grounds recently. International sports-stars Aoife & Lisa O’Rourke from Castlerea just show how this town is about excellence in all fields.

Castlerea has a lot to offer and this government investment will see a lot more development for the benefit of all. A grant of €30,000 will help develop a plan to tackle derelict sites, promote walkways and parks as well as supporting SMEs and the tourism potential of the area. These Town Centre First Plans will be developed in consultation with local communities represent the vision of local people for their area

Strokestown was selected under the last round of Town Centre First funding and today launched it’s Town Centre First Plan with Roscommon County Council. Well done to Jonathan Cassidy a Town Team lead and all the local volunteers working with business and local community to build a vision of how we wish to see Strokestown grow over the next number of years. 

Castlerea has been selected today in the new round of Town Centre First.

Our local Councillors have been strong advocates for Castlerea including local election candidate Gareth Scahill working with the Castlerea Town Team as well as Cllr Liam Callaghan. I want to acknowledge Minister Heather Humphreys focus on supporting the development of towns under this programme and the funding allocation. Under ‘Our Rural Future’ strategy this funding will revitalise the town and tackle dereliction and vacancy.  I was delighted to invite Minister Heather Humphreys to visit Roscommon on a number of occasions and to mark the opening of many projects in the area especially with investment of €60 million in County Roscommon under the Minister’s Department of Rural & Community Development. I’m sure the Minister will look forward to seeing progress again on the Town Centre First strategy.

Roscommon County Council has Town Regeneration teams and this is crucial to delivering results for our towns and especially under Town Centre First Stokestown and Castlerea. Government funding for these positions and development of plans to tackle derelict sites and protect historic buildings comes from a range of sources including Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Town Centre First Heritage Revival (THRIVE) Scheme and the Historic Towns Initiative”


Speaking at the launch, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, said:

“Communities are at the heart of rural Ireland. Town Centre First is all about empowering people to develop a vision for their town that can make it a better place to live, work, invest in and enjoy.

These Plans and the new Town Regeneration Officers are about ensuring there is a strategic and coherent approach at local level to tackling vacancy and dereliction in our towns and villages.

“Government is firmly committed to strategic projects that will transform rural Ireland such as under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, and we are already seeing the hugely positive impacts of investment right across the country such as the fantastic new Community Centre we are opening here in Patrickswell this morning.

Minister Humphreys also announced the next 26 Towns who have been approved to develop Town Centre First Plans:

“I am delighted to publish the first ever Town Centre First Plans today and I want to commend the local Communities and Town Teams for their work in developing these comprehensive locally-led plans.

“I am pleased to also announce the next 26 successful towns across the country who we will support with funding of €30,000 each to complete a comprehensive town plan to help develop their town centres.”

Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O'Donnell, said

“This Government has committed to multi-billion euro investment in regenerating and revitalising towns and urban centres across Ireland.

“The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is supporting the delivery of the Town Centre First policy approach through major funding schemes such as the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, the Croí Cónaithe Fund and Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant and the ERDF supported THRIVE Fund.

“The Town Centre First approach empowers local communities and businesses, supported by Local Authorities, to guide and direct investment to maximise the particular strengths and assets of their town.”

“In a joint initiative, my Department along with DRCD has established a National Town Centre First Office, within the LGMA, to support delivery of the policy.

“I also wish to congratulate and commend all the local communities and Town Teams for their dedicated work in designing these exciting Town Centre First plans – I look forward to seeing them fully implemented in the time ahead.