Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
125. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of the new projects to be delivered in the northern and western region following the recent allocation of €217 million under the European Regional Development Fund programme; the details of any engagement between his Department and the Northern and Western Regional Assembly in the development of the 2021 to 2027 programme and, in particular, with regard to reducing regional inequality in Ireland, as highlighted at EU level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1885/23]
I thank the Deputy for the question.
Ireland was allocated a total of €395.7 million in European Regional Development Funding (ERDF). The Northern and Western region - a Region in Transition - was initially allocated €110.2 million while the Southern and the Eastern and Midland Regions (designated as more developed regions) were allocated €285.5 million. Noting the Northern and Western Region’s Region in Transition status, my predecessor made a decision, in consultation with the Regional Assemblies, to transfer €20m in ERDF resources from the other Regions to the Northern and Western Region, which increased the allocation for the Northern and Western Region to €130.2 million. When combined with national funding of €87 million, this provides €217 million in available funding for the Northern and Western Region programme.
The Northern Western Regional ERDF Programme focuses on three selected Policy Objectives, and is structured under three priorities to reflect this.
Priority 1: A Smarter and More Competitive Region;
Priority 2 A Low-Carbon Energy Efficient Region;
Priority 3 - Sustainable And Integrated Urban Development.
There was extensive engagement with the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) in the development of the 2021-2027 programme. My predecessor appointed the NWRA as the Managing Authority of the 2021-2027 ERDF Programme for the Northern and Western region in October 2020, prior to which the NWRA played a very active role in the programming for the 2021-2027 round in conjunction with officials from my Department.
The NWRA were represented on the Partnership Process Steering Group, which guided the development process of the Partnership Agreement for 2021-2027. The NWRA was also part of a working group that managed the public consultation process to inform the selection of priorities for the use of EU funding for the next period. After nearly three years of development by the Regional Assemblies and my department, Ireland's two ERDF programmes for the 2021-27 period were formally adopted by the Commission on the 18th of November 2022.
The NWRA will lead the implementation of the programme in that region and will set out further details in due course.