At the outset it is important to remind the Deputy that Ireland’s allocation of European Regional Development Funds have in the past, and will continue in the future, to support projects in all parts of Ireland. Moreover, in accordance with the EU Regulatory requirement, stakeholders at local, regional and national level will continue to have a key role in the planning, monitoring and delivery of these programmes.
A decision will be made shortly regarding the role of Managing Authorities for the 2021 - 2027 European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) Operational Programmes. In the meantime, the three Regional Assemblies are playing a very active role in the process of programming for the next round of ERDF, in conjunction and cooperation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. They are also represented on the Partnership Process Steering Group, which guides and advises on the programming of all of the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) programmes, through the development process of the Partnership Agreement for the period 2021 – 2027.
The Steering Group oversaw the development of a Needs Analysis by Indecon Economic Consultants, which specifically looked at regional development needs.
The Regional Assemblies are also part of a working group which launched a consultation process to inform the selection of priorities for the use of EU cohesion funding for the next period. As part of this consultation a webinar was held on the 28th of July, breakout sessions were organised on a regional basis, and this included a focus on the main priorities of the individual Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies. The working group is currently preparing a report, the primary purpose of which is to present the findings and analysis from the public consultation submissions, including the qualitative messages from the national workshop event conducted on 28th July. This report, along with the Needs Analysis, adopted by the PPSG in July, will inform the ERDF programming for 2021 – 2027.