Donegal County Council has been commended for taking the lead in sourcing millions in EU funding.
Midlands-North-West MEP, Colm Markey, is now calling on every local authority in Ireland to recruit a dedicated officer to access valuable European Union funds.
“If each local authority were to appoint an officer whose only role is to draw down EU funding, there would be a significant increase in the return to the State,” Minister Markey said.
He added that a handful of councils, including Donegal, had already adopted this approach and the level of funding which they have managed to draw down is proof of the concept.
“I am calling on other councils to follow the lead of the likes of Cork City, Dublin and Donegal,” he said.
“They have benefitted from additional funding, allowing their communities to become smarter, greener and more connected and allowing local organisations to enhance the services that they provide. Cork City Council, for example, has had 26 successful applications for EU funding over a six-year period.”
Having a dedicated EU funding officer, he continued, could be of particular benefit to counties in the Northern and Western Region and along the border, whose economic status lags behind the rest of the country.
Speaking from Strasbourg, he said the European Union offers a huge range of financial supports, but we must have a focussed approach if we are to gain maximum benefit.
“We are net contributors to the EU, but this is one way that can help us ensure that we are getting a just return on that investment”, Minister Markey concluded.
He said he has also spoken to the new Local Government Minister, Kieran O’Donnell, about the issue and received a positive response.