O’Neill welcomes Coastal award

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Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O’Neill has welcomed the announcement of a £734,642 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund to the Rathlin Development Community Association (RDCA), to enable the redevelopment of the Manor House, Rathlin Island.

Commenting on the award the Minister said: “My officials have been working closely with the community on Rathlin on their application to the Coastal Communities Fund and I am delighted to hear of their success.”

The Manor House is a National Trust property on the island which is currently operating on a limited bed and breakfast basis. It is planned to fully refurbish the interior of the building to allow it to become a fully functioning Guest Inn.

The Minister went on to say: “My Department will continue to provide support to RDCA, working with other rural stakeholders throughout the lifetime of the project and establishing the Manor House as a thriving social economy enterprise.”

A key goal of DARD is to strengthen the social and economic infrastructure of rural areas. The Department’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation programme supports the development of the rural social economy as a means to assist with sustainability of isolated rural communities.