Minister Howlin and Commissioner Creţu welcome progress on implementing regional funding programmes

Issued 28 September 2015

Ireland is set to benefit from €1.2 billion of EU Structural Funds over the period 2014-2020, Brendan Howlin TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform stated today (28 September 2015).

The Minister was speaking after he met European Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy Corina Creţu in Dublin this morning. 

Minister Howlin has overall responsibility for Ireland’s structural funding programmes, which will provide €1.2 billion from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) between 2014 and 2020.

Commissioner Creţu is responsible at a European level for regional development and the ERDF.   Ireland has two regional programmes for the Border, Midland & Western Region and the Southern & Eastern Region which will receive €409 million from the ERDF.  

Minister Howlin said:

“The EU funding package we have negotiated will help support the Government’s focus on balanced regional development and on the creation of jobs and growth”.

The regional development funding will be used to provide opportunities for the commercialisation of research, improving ICT infrastructure, supporting local SMEs, improving energy efficiency, and includes a Sustainable Urban Development Fund for local authorities.

Minister Howlin welcomed progress on simplifying European regulations for beneficiaries, where the Commission has founded a High Level Group for Simplification. This group is expected to issue a report in 2016, identifying best practice for reducing the burden on beneficiaries of European funding.

The Minister also looked forward to agreement of the North South PEACE Programme which has been the subject of detailed negotiations with the Northern Ireland Executive and the Commission over the last year.  The PEACE Programme and its sister INTERREG Programme will see more than €500 million of investment in the region during the 2014-2020 funding round.

Minister Howlin said:

“This funding is evidence of the European Union’s support for the peace process and for the Government’s efforts to bring about lasting peace and stability”.

Note to Editors:

Full details of the allocations for European funds can be found in Ireland’s Partnership Agreement (a detailed breakdown by fund is available in Table 7):

http://per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Partnership-Agreement-Ireland-2014-2020.pdf

The €409 million ERDF funding is split between the Border, Midland and Western, and Southern & Eastern Regions as €249.1 and €160 million respectively. The European portion is then matched by an Irish co-funding amount.

For further information, see the Regional Assembly websites:www.nwra.ie and www.southernassembly.ie.