In 2014, my Department contributed projects for inclusion in Ireland's project list as submitted to the “EIB-Commission-Member State Special Task Force on developing an investment project pipeline in the EU". The possible projects and project areas that were outlined at that time included:
- An Agri-Food Loan Fund
- Afforestation and the creation of woodland
- Capital projects in Fishery Harbours
- Marine Research and Infrastructure Initiative, the Irish Digital Ocean.
This was in advance of the launch of the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), which is now available to provide loans and guarantees for strategic investments, and is managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The recent Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme was developed by my Department in cooperation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). My Department contributed €25million, including €11.1 million from the EU’s ‘exceptional adjustment aid for milk and other livestock farmers’ and some €14 million in national funding. This allowed the Scheme to leverage €150 million in total funding for farmers. SBCI did not providing funding, but along with COSME (the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs) and EFSI, is providing the guarantee required to underpin the loan’s flexibility, and lower the cost of the loans.
My Department will continue to engage with the European Investment Bank in relation to funding options for the agri-food sector.