The Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) launched a new six-year investment programme totaling €217m in European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) for Ireland’s Northern and Western region.
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, hosted in the Portershed, Galway, Director of the Northern & Western Regional Assembly (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, capacity building 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”.
Chairperson of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Cllr David Collins, who acknowledged the Government’s support for the NWRA in seeking an enhanced package of ERDF funds. He added: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome the launch of the new ERDF Programme for the Northern and Western Region. This programme, with an enhanced co-funding rate from the European Union specifically targeted at the North and West together with support from the Government of Ireland, will focus on developing a smarter, more competitive Region, creating a greener more energy-efficient region and supporting sustainable urban development in the region..”
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 Collins, 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 according to Collins 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 programme are available here and will include:
- Delivery of a regional smart hub network for research, training, innovation, commercialization
- Underpinning the region’s existing enterprise ecosystem with training and innovation supports
- Working with SEAI to ensure households get deep energy retrofits should be Working with householders in danger of energy poverty to get deep energy retrofits
- Supporting Local Authorities to revitalise urbans areas in our region