Dáil debates

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Enterprise Policy

9:05 pm

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I want to be completely clear with the Deputy that these plans are meant to be bottom-up. I have sat around the table when the very first versions of these plans were put in place and I can assure the Deputy that it was all local people who were around the table with me when we went through each and every idea. The Deputy and I discussed these during one of my first set of parliamentary questions in this Department. This is the first time the Deputy has suggested wool to me, even though I am familiar with it. I am just mentioning our conversation but I will pass this information on to the Minister of State, Deputy Troy.

This is what these plans are about. Even when the regional plans are published in a couple of weeks' time, there is enough scope there to add in some more changes because a fund has been put in place. It was confirmed in the national development plan and again in the budget we had a couple of weeks ago. That is additional money to fund regional ideas and projects.

I refer again to the Department of Rural and Community Development which will have close to €1 billion over the next four years. There are certainly enough resources out there to fund initiatives and ideas. It involves the bringing forward of ideas by both the locals as well as the State agencies. It is very much not the case that this is a regional plan led by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, SFI, or any of our national agencies. These are meant to be local plans.

The Deputy’s county has been quite successful over the last two rounds in drawing down a good deal of money to fund projects and I wish to see these projects implemented at a faster pace. That is something that we are going to do. The wool committee is finally up and running but it is not up to the Government to find a market for every product out there. It is up to us to work together through our agencies with all those interested bodies and I am happy to do that, as is the Minister of State, Deputy Troy, and the Tánaiste, Deputy Varadkar, and we will continue to do that. I completely agree with the Deputy on the issue of seaweed. It is something that we can probably work on together in that we also need initiative in this House to bring such issues forward.


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