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Cross-Border Co-operation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Ceisteanna (186, 187)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

186. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the details of the cross-Border Project Ireland 2040 infrastructure projects and the funding allocated for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53842/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

187. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the details of his Department’s current cross-Border initiatives, goods and or services committed to and the funding allocated to each for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53860/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Enterprise)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 186 and 187 together.

The joint impacts of both Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic have brought about an unprecedented period of challenge and uncertainty for people both North and South on this island. The scale of these interlinked challenges on this island is such that we can deal with them far more effectively by pursuing all of the opportunities we have to work together, North and South. Cross-border cooperation is vital to help businesses grow, develop and thrive on our island, particularly in the context of our new trading environment.

My Department supports cross-border trade initiatives principally through the funding of InterTradeIreland. ITI works to promote trade and business on an all-island and cross-border basis and to help businesses in dealing with the joint impacts of Brexit and the pandemic. Its work is helping to build and strengthen the business and commerce between North and South.

Through its range of programmes, the Body continues to assist and develop cross-border trade and businesses as they face the challenges that have emerged in recent years. Their Brexit Advisory Service provides a focal point for small and medium enterprises working to navigate the changes in cross-border trading relationships brought about by Brexit. The Acumen trade programme is designed to support businesses by funding a part-time or full-time sales salary support to develop cross-border trade.

My Department has been steadily increasing its contribution to ITI in recent years to ensure the body has the resources it needs to support SMEs. In 2022 ITI will receive a total of €11.586 to continue its existing programmes and expand its services. This will help them to develop a cross-border Trade Information Service, which will assist businesses seeking to engage in the new trading environment, as well as a Supply Chain Programme, which will help firms to improve their understanding of and management practices in relation to their supply chains and to identify new suppliers.

Another important cross-border initiative that my Department contributes to is INTERREG VA, an EU funded programme designed to support cross-border collaboration between Ireland, Northern Ireland and western Scotland. My Department has responsibility for funding projects under the Research and Innovation strand of the current INTERREG VA programme, together with our counterparts in Northern Ireland, the Department for the Economy. We have committed a total of €21 million over the course of the seven-year programme, that will conclude in 2022.

PEACE PLUS is a new, €1 billion EU cross-border programme that will build on the success of INTERREG. My Department and the Department for the Economy will be responsible for funding SME development and transition and the Innovation Challenge Fund under this programme. Our budgetary commitment will be €23 million over the seven-year period that the programme will run for. The outline for PEACE PLUS has recently been approved by the North-South Ministerial Council and the programme is currently being finalised.

The cross-border work of both ITI and the INTERREG programme is particularly important in the context of the Government’s Shared Island Initiative. Under the National Development Plan, we have doubled the Shared Island Fund to €1 billion out to 2030. With this fund, the Government will work to develop and deliver joint and coordinated investments to build a more connected, sustainable all-island economy. These investments will help to grow business and employment opportunities both North and South.

As set out in the National Development Plan, Project Ireland 2040 will fund key cross-border infrastructure projects, including the A5 transport Corridor to the North West, the Ulster Canal renovation, the upgrading of the Dublin-Belfast rail connection and all-island research centres. While the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will play a key role in the delivery of Project Ireland 2040, responsibility for the work around infrastructure falls under the remit of other Government Departments.

The below table sets out the funding for ITI and INTERREG on behalf of my Department for the years 2021 and 2022. While funding for 2023 has not yet been confirmed, we will ensure that both ITI and INTERREG have the resources they require to continue to carry out their important work.

InterTradeIreland (€,000)

INTERREG (€,000

2021

10,361

5,800

2022

11,586

4,500

Question No. 187 answered with Question No. 186.
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