I welcome that Project Ireland 2040 funding will support key cross-border infrastructure projects noted in the National Development Plan, including the A5 Transport Corridor to the North West, the Ulster Canal renovation, cross-border greenways, including the Sligo Enniskillen greenway, all-island research centres, and the upgrade of the Dublin-Belfast rail connection to an hourly service, including new rolling stock. Relevant line Departments are the budget holders for these projects.
I am happy to confirm that the Department of Foreign Affairs recently arranged payment of a supplementary allocation of €1 million by the Irish Government towards the North West Development Fund, which supports strategic collaboration between Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council to address the particular needs of the North West and drive growth across the region.
The funding allocation reflects the commitment made by the Irish Government as part of the New Decade, New Approach agreement to continue its support for the work of the North West Strategic Growth Partnership and to provide further funding to the North West Development Fund.
The North West Development Fund is supported by both the Irish Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Meetings of the North West Strategic Growth Partnership bring together representatives of the two Councils and senior officials from the Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to discuss strategic development priorities for the North West.
This is evidence of our strong commitment to supporting local authorities in working together on a cross-border basis to promote economic and social development in the border region.
This funding will allow the continuation of important collaborative work which has been underway since 2015, and brings to €6 million the total contributed to the Fund by the Irish Government (€3.5m) and the Northern Ireland Executive (€2.5m).
The North West Development Fund was established to fulfil a commitment made in the November 2015 Fresh Start agreement to support regional development work in the North West led by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council.Decisions on allocations from the Fund are made by the North West Regional Development Group, a joint committee involving elected representatives from both Local Authorities.
The North West Development Fund has supported a range of strategic initiatives led by the two Local Authorities, including joint research on the impact of Brexit on the North West region, joint trade missions and greenway projects.