Ireland’s Northern and Western regions recently classified as a ‘lagging industrial region’ and a region that is ‘In Transition’ by the European Commission. That could be about to change.
Ireland’s Northern and Western regions are to benefit from a €217m investment programme over six years.
The investment, which comes from European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), was approved by the European Commission.
Money from the programme will be spent on projects such as building the capacity of the new Atlantic Technological University to support regional research 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.
The North and West is awake
“The €217 million investment in the Northern and Western Region from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is a welcome one,” said David Minton, director of the Northern & Western Regional Assembly (NWRA).
“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.”
Minton said the regional programme submitted by the NWRA was a major investment in the region’s future.
“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.”
The Northern and Western Region’s economy was valued at €22.1bn 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.
The programme will also 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
- Addressing the high rate of derelict and vacant properties in the 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,” explained Cllr David Collins, chair of the NWRA.