The Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) has today launched a new six-year €217 million investment programme.
The money will come from the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) for Ireland’s Northern and Western region, including Donegal.
Following recent approval by the Irish Government, the ERDF Regional Programme, drafted by the NWRA, was submitted to the EU Commission for its final review and approval, ahead of today’s launch.
Speaking at the launch, Director of NWRA, David Minton, said the funds for the 2021 to 2027 programme would build on previous funding that has improved ‘almost every aspect of life’ in the region.
Money from the programme will be spent on projects such as building the capacity of the new Atlantic Technological University to support regional research and innovation, supporting regional industry with enhanced financial supports through TU Gateways (Enterprise Ireland), and helping regional enterprises to pursue further commercialisation of products and services.
Mr Minton said: “The €217 million investment in the Northern and Western Region from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is a welcome one. Partnerships with our EU colleagues have helped improve almost every aspect of life in our region over the past half-century. We have seen the ways in which we work, travel, and conduct business become more efficient. We have also benefited from regulations that have ensured the sustained quality of our environment and reaped the rewards of a wider array of opportunities for learning and development.”
Mr. Minton said the regional programme submitted by the NWRA was a major investment in the region’s future. He added: “The EU has always been a major contributor to our economy. We are excited to be working with our government partners to deliver this significant investment, which underlines our ambition to be more competitive, more specialised, more urban and more green. It’s an investment in our young people, our talent, our educational institutions, and our towns.”
The Assembly is advocating for a sustained policy focus on the border and west to ensure long-term sustainable progress and economic inclusion. According to them, actions to ensure this need to be “immediate and different”.
The Northern and Western Region’s economy was valued at €22.1 billion in 2019, equating to €24,926 per head of population. This is in stark contrast with the State average of €66,716. The region is “acutely exposed” and needs to make sure that this is not exacerbated by coming climate and biodiversity challenges.
Full details of the scheme are available online and will also include:
- Delivery of a regional smart hub network for research, training, innovation, commercialisation
- Underpinning the region’s existing enterprise ecosystem with training and innovation supports
- Working with SEAI to ensure households get deep energy retrofits
- Addressing the high rate of derelict and vacant properties in the region