Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Question 68: To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the progress being made by him in consultation with his counterpart in the Northern Ireland Assembly to draw up a joint proposal to apply for EU funding under the cross-Border INTERREG programme for start-up business supports and training initiatives; when he expects a draft proposal will be ready; when the application will be made to the EU; when funding can be expected to be drawn down; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2638/11]
The Interreg Programme is the Cross-Border Territorial Co-operation Programme for Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. The programme is 75% funded by the EU, through the European Regional Development Fund, and the remaining 25% is provided by the participating Member States, and has potential funding availability of €256 million.
Last May, following the Quinn Insurance redundancy announcement, I spoke to my Northern Ireland counterpart, Arlene Foster, MLA, about the possibility of our development agencies working together to develop proposals for submission under the cross-border Interreg Programme, under the next call for proposals. Arising from those discussions, development agencies, North and South, have engaged intensively on developing suitable projects. The most recent call for proposals under Interreg closes in February and it is intended that agency led or driven proposals will be submitted by then.
The managing authority for Interreg, the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), on receipt of project proposals will then engage in a series of assessments of projects which will include an initial eligibility assessment, scoring assessment, indications of potential support from authorities North and South, a detailed independent economic assessment and subsequent project consideration by a Programme Steering Committee. I am informed that the foregoing process will take a number of months to complete.