Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (236, 238, 241)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

236. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which her Department continues to promote rural areas for investment through technology; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11503/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

238. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which she continues to encourage local and foreign investment in the regions through innovation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11801/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

241. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the full potential of innovation and technology is fully available throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11804/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 236, 238 and 241 together.

Regional development remains an absolute priority of mine. I am focused on both supporting and sustaining existing employment levels in regional Ireland while also working to create new economic opportunities and jobs in every county of Ireland.

I remain optimistic about the job creation potential of Irish companies across the regions. To date, I have launched eight of the nine Regional Enterprise Plans that my Department has spearheaded with regional stakeholders. The final plan for the South East will be launched on 22 March. These Plans will play an important role in encouraging regional investment and job creation across the regions, including through technology.

I want to emphasise that creating jobs in the regions will remain key objective of the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and my Department. We are collectively focused on delivering the fairest possible spread of investment across the country. The energy and resources we have invested into regional growth is, as the evidence illustrates, producing results. We will continue to do our utmost to encourage further such job growth across all parts of Ireland in the time ahead.

My Department launched the €500 million Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund in June 2018. In December 2018, I was delighted to announce the 27 projects that were approved in principle for funding under the first Call. These projects will receive over €70 million in government funding between now and 2021 and they represent the health, food, ICT and manufacturing sectors in Ireland.

I would point out that the approved projects involve partners right across the country, showing that excellence in collaborative research, development and innovation transcends county borders and every part of Ireland is capable of participation in one of the most unique Funds Ireland has developed. Specifically, 18 of our successful projects involve enterprise partners based outside the capital and they are located country-wide in Limerick, Cork, Galway, Kildare, Monaghan, Waterford, Louth and Tipperary.