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A general view at Gort. Photograph by John Kelly.

Mixed bag for Gort in rural regeneration funding

THERE was mixed news for South Galway in the latest round of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund announced last week.

While there was delight at the approval of almost €800,000 for infrastructure and streetscape improvement, there was disappointment a remote working and community space was not included in the funding announcement.

The Gorgeous Gort Forum welcomed the decision of Minister Heather Humphries to approve funding of €798,000 from the Rural Regeneration and Development application for Gort.

The application was submitted by Galway County Council with the support of the Forum, the representative body for all local community groups, clubs and organisations.

The money will go towards the redesign of the Market Square and town centre streets and will reinvigorate Canon Quinn Park, a green space in the town centre.

Justin McDermott, chairperson of Gorgeous Gort Forum said, “This is wonderful news that part of the Rural Regeneration and Development fund application for Gort has been approved.

“We thank the Minister for approving funding for our town, and all the team in Galway County Council who we supported in developing and submitting this application and the local representatives who supported this application.

“We also thank the over 40 organisations, clubs and groups in our community, who we represent, that provided invaluable letters of support.”

The Gorgeous Gort Forum’s role in supporting the development and submission of the funding application included organising letters of support from over 40 various clubs, organisations, and groups in Gort which they represent.

The group also facilitated meetings between Galway County Council and key community stakeholders.

Forum members met and worked with local elected representatives, including members of the Oireachtas Anne Rabbittee TD, Sean Canny TD, Ciaran Cannon TD and local councillors including Joe Byrne, PJ Murphy, and Geraldine Donoghue, to lobby the minister on behalf of the community.

Speaking on behalf of Galway County Council, Liam Hanrahan Director of Services – Housing, Economic, Rural and Community Development said, “This funding award will enable the reimagining of Canon Quinn park into a high-quality public space alongside significant improvements to the public realm and will bring vibrancy into Gort town centre.

“The local community in Gort, represented by the Gorgeous Gort Forum have worked enthusiastically alongside Galway County Council executive and councillors to help develop the project and we look forward to continuing to work with them as the project progresses.”

Community activist David Murray and Forge Works Remote Working Hub manager Laura Tannian, who were also involved in the development of this application, have voiced their delighted with the outcome.

“This is a great win for Gort, South Galway and North Clare and will bring more economic, social and cultural benefits to the area”, said Mr Murray.

“Overall, this offers great potential to energise the town centre and bring much need services and amenities to the broader community.”

There was disappointment however that the purchase and development of a multi-purpose remote working, cultural and community Space based in the existing Convent of Mercy building in the centre of the town, which was part of this application, was not included.

“We are disappointed that the Minister did not include the convent in her decision, but we will continue to work with all statutory agencies, local representatives and the local community to ensure a multi-purpose enterprise, Community and Cultural hub in the historic Convent of Mercy building in Gort becomes a reality,” said the Gorgeous Gort Forum spokesperson concluded.

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