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Budget 2024: Major emphasis placed on rural funding

Laois County Council General

Laois County Council unveiled their budget for 2024 last week, with a big emphasis on rural funding.

The Laois Rural Broadband Project is one of the budget’s major benefactors, seeing an increase of €92,000 in funding.

This represents an increase of over 200% on 2023 funding.

Residents in Rosenallis and Ballyfin were informed in July that high speed broadband had reached 85% of homes in the area.

It is hoped that this funding will help speed up the rollout in other parts of the county.

A new initiative called ORIS (Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme), which provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure, will see €200,000 spent around Laois.

The scheme supports outdoor recreation activities such as walking, trekking, cycling, kayaking and hiking, using of the resources of the countryside that contribute to healthy active lifestyles.

It supports the economic and tourism potential of the area for both local communities and tourist visitors alike.

Funding for playgrounds saw an increase of €20,200, up to €358,100.

Parks, pitches and open spaces, however, saw their funding reduced from €328,000 to €320,000.

CLÁR (Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais {High Needs Low Areas}) funding is set to increase from €129,000 to €271,000.

The additional €142,000 will go towards small scale infrastructural projects in rural areas that have suffered significant levels of population decline.

SEE ALSO – Budget 2024: Over €30 million to be spent on housing in Laois next year