The Government and the Southern Regional Assembly have officially launched the European Regional Development Fund programme, which will see €663m invested in the South, East, and Midland regions of the country. The funding is made up of €265m from the European Regional Development Fund and €398m from the Government and will be invested across the areas from 2021 to 2027.
Focusing on ‘Developing Smarter More Competitive Regions’, some of the funding will be targeted at universities and enterprises to promote research and development and strengthen regional innovation. Another priority area in the programme is ‘Creating Greener More Energy Efficient Regions and a Just Transition’, and scaling up investment in improving the energy efficiency of homes. Funding will also be allocated to ‘Supporting Sustainable Urban Development’ by regenerating towns through the Town Centres First Framework.
Director of the Southern Regional Assembly, David Kelly, welcomed the Commission approval as “great news for the two Irish regions in the programme area”.
“The ERDF support will boost investment both within and between the Irish regions in crucial areas, such as driving research and commercialisation, reducing energy poverty, and contributing to local work on sustainable urban development,” he said.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath congratulated the Southern Regional Assembly for managing the programme to full approval.
“This approval allows spending and investment of €663m to get underway across the regions immediately, which will benefit thousands of people over coming years,” he said.
“When matched with Government funding, it represents a continuing concrete and important support mechanism for projects supporting regional research and innovation and addressing the challenges of the green and digital transformation in the regions of Ireland. I wish those involved in implementing this programme every success,” he added.
Funding calls targeting the universities, technological universities, and regional enterprise will be managed by the Higher Education Authority, Science Foundation Ireland, and Enterprise Ireland. SEAI will roll out the deep energy retrofit activity. The Southern Regional Assembly in partnership with local authorities will manage Sustainable Urban Development actions under the Town Centres First framework in selected towns.