More than €663m is to be invested in Ireland’s Southern Region and the Eastern and Midland Region over the next seven years.
A €663m plan to deliver balanced regional development across Ireland’s Southern and Eastern and Midland regions over the next seven years has been given the green light.
More than €663m is to be invested in helping to create quality jobs, transition to low carbon and support higher education, enterprises, public bodies and local authorities to develop their areas.
“This new chapter in the story of ERDF in Ireland will continue to improve our way of life in the Irish regions by addressing key regional challenges”
The Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 is co-financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) by the European Union and the Government of Ireland and managed by the Southern Regional Assembly.
ERDF invests in activities that will build research, development and innovation capacity, assist homeowners in or at risk of energy poverty and contribute to the revitalisation of our regions’ towns centres through sustainable urban development.
The Progamme Area has a population of 3.8m and covers just over half of the country.
Limerick, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Carlow, Tipperary, Wexford, Kilkenny, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Louth, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly, Longford as well as Dublin are targeted as part of the Programme, which is aligned with the Irish Government’s aim of promoting balanced regional development through the Regional Economic and Spatial Strategies for the two regions of the Programme Area.
“This Programme will have a direct impact on balancing regional disparities in Ireland by targeting support at regional level for research and innovation, energy efficiency and sustainable regeneration of our regional towns,” said David Kelly, Southern Regional Assembly Director.
“Over the past half-century, Ireland’s EU membership has changed how we live, work, study and travel for the better. This new chapter in the story of ERDF in Ireland will continue to improve our way of life in the Irish regions by addressing key regional challenges,” Kelly added.
The Programme will target its funding supports through three priority areas.
Priority 1 is the creation of Smarter and more Competitive Regions by enhancing research and innovation capacity and supporting regional enterprise. It has a total budget of €337m. Supports will be delivered through six streamlined schemes in the Programme Area. Six of the country’s universities and two Institutes of Technology are in the targeted Programme Area, and it is also home to four newly-established Technological Universities. Investing in collaborative research and innovation activities will build capacity within and between the institutions and collectively support the regional innovation ecosystem and knowledge economy. These schemes will be rolled out by Programme delivery partners which include Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Higher Education Authority.
Priority 2 is the creation of Low Carbon, Energy Efficient Regions and has a budget of €199 million. This will be achieved by supporting investments to improve energy efficiency of residential homes, targeting homeowners in or at risk of energy poverty. Responding to the energy challenges, the Programme will fund deep retrofitting to ease the burden of homeowners in or at risk of experiencing energy poverty, reducing the amount they are spending on energy consumption and reducing their carbon emissions. These deep retrofits will be delivered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI.
Priority 3 is Sustainable & Integrated Urban Development. It involves taking an integrated strategic approach to the regeneration of our towns using a Town Centres First Framework. Aligning closely with the objectives of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies for the Southern Region and the Eastern & Midland Region, the Programme supports the regeneration of regional town centres as the vibrant heart of local communities to live, work and visit.
A budget of €90m has been set aside for this work which will be rolled out by the Southern Regional Assembly through the local authorities in the Programme Area.
Main image at top: Cllr Oliver Walsh, Cathaoirleach Southern Regional Assembly, Miia Jouppi, European Commission and Andrew Condon, Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform