Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Ceisteanna (6)

Joe Carey


6. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the progress made on the development of the Atlantic economic corridor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2991/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Programme for a Partnership Government and the Action Plan for Rural Development both commit to progressing the Atlantic Economic Corridor initiative to create an economic area of scale along the western seaboard, from Donegal to Kerry.

The initiative aims to maximise the assets of the region and to better utilise the economic hubs, clusters and catchments of the area to attract investment, support job creation and contribute to an improved quality of life for people who live in the region.

Minister Ring established the Atlantic Economic Corridor Taskforce in March 2017 to oversee and progress the initiative. The Taskforce, which I now chair, meets every quarter. The Taskforce includes representatives of all of the key public and private sector stakeholders along the Corridor.

Three subgroups have been established to support the work of the Taskforce, focusing on infrastructure, enterprise space and communications. These subgroups meet twice each quarter and are currently implementing agreed work programmes.

My Department also provides co-funding for a dedicated AEC Officer in each of the 10 Local Authorities along the Corridor. This AEC Officer network is a resource to support the work of the AEC Taskforce and its subgroups, as well as to promote the AEC concept more widely.

This year, I have also provided the Western Development Commission with additional funding to strengthen the co-ordination of the AEC initiative.

There have been significant private sector investment and job announcements along the Atlantic Economic Corridor region in the last twelve months, which reflects the fact that the West of Ireland is an attractive place for employers and investors. The work of the AEC Taskforce will further highlight the potential of the region for national and international investment.