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Government approves over €70m for Shared Island investments

Shared Island Fund will support new cross-border initiatives on climate action, EV charging, sustainable tourism and recreation, and the arts Cross-border local authority partnerships progressing new investment projects

Government today allocated €70.4m from the Shared Island Fund to deliver five new cross-border and all-island initiatives.  These are:

  • €5m for a Shared Island Local Authority Development Funding Scheme;
  • €3m for a Shared Island strand to the Community Climate Action Programme;
  • €15m for a Shared Island Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure scheme;
  • €7.4m for Shared Island Arts investment projects; and,
  • €40m contribution for delivery of Phase 3 of the Ulster Canal restoration.

These projects will be taken forward by Ministers working through all-island partnerships. The Shared Island Fund was established by Government in Budget2021, and provides ring-fenced capital resourcing for delivery of the all-island investment commitments and objectives set out in the Programme for Government and the revised National Development Plan 2021-30 (NDP). Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said, “The Shared Island initiative is gathering pace. Following on from the €50m allocation from the Shared Island Fund in 2021, Government has today agreed a record €70m in funding for Shared Island projects and investments. “Today’s announcement sets out an ambitious, cross-Government programme of work, which will bring communities, North and South, together to work on shared strategic priorities. “Through the Shared Island Fund we are providing enhanced resources so the long-standing commitment to the Ulster Canal restoration is delivered. We are also progressing new cross-border and all-island investments in community climate action, EV charging infrastructure, in the arts, and for new local authority investment projects. “Working through all-island partnerships, we will deliver tangible benefits and provide new opportunities for people from all communities and traditions on this island. The Government is deeply committed to this agenda to see us build, in practical and positive ways, a more connected, sustainable and prosperous island for all.” Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD said, “The Shared Island initiative is an important cross-Government programme which is playing a key role in enhancing North-South cooperation. The funding agreed today will further deepen the links and relationships across the island and sends out a positive message of what can be achieved when we work together for the benefit of people and communities, North and South.” In advancing the Shared Island initiative the Government wishes to work in close cooperation with the Northern Ireland Executive, and with the British Government. Work is also underway across all Government Departments to develop new Shared Island investment, policy and cooperation projects with further allocations from the Shared Island Fund being targeted before the end of this year. -Ends- Note to Editor: The Government’s Shared Island initiative is working to deliver tangible benefits for people on an all-island basis and engage with all communities and political traditions to build consensus around a shared future on the island, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.

The initiative includes a significantly increased level of ambition and resourcing for all-island investment cooperation through the Shared Island Fund and under the revised National Development Plan; a programme of inclusive all-island civic engagement through the Shared Island Dialogue series; and, a comprehensive policy research programme to provide an evidence-base and analysis of the whole island across economic, environmental and social domains. Today, Government allocated €70.4m from the Shared Island Fund to a number of Departments to take forward Shared Island projects this year.  These include:

€5m for a Shared Island Local Authority Development Funding Scheme The Minister for Housing, Local Government Heritage announced a call for applications under the Shared Island Local Authority Development funding scheme in April 2022.  The scheme allows for grants of up to €250k to be made to cross-border Local Authority partnerships to bring new joint investment cooperation projects through feasibility or pre-planning stages.

The scheme is designed to generate a pipeline of well-developed cross-border local authority projects that will be in a position to secure funding for subsequent construction/implementation stage from both jurisdictions, including through the Shared Island Fund. There has been a strong response from cross-border Local Authority partnerships to the call for proposals and funding awards are due to be announced in the autumn. €3m for a Shared Island strand to the Community Climate Action programme The Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications will announce a Shared Island dimension to the Government’s Community Climate Action Programme (CCAP).

The Shared Island dimension will operate alongside Strand 1 of the CCAP, to support Local Authorities to step up climate action, in partnership with communities. The €3m from the Shared Island Fund will support cross-border or all-island projects which have a clear North/South basis and impact in contributing to climate and energy targets on the island of Ireland. Projects will include at least one partner in Northern Ireland and at least 50% of awarded funding will be for project delivery in Northern Ireland.

€15m for a Shared Island Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure scheme This project will deliver publicly accessible EV charge points in sports clubs and centres on an all-island basis by providing grant funding via National Sports Governing Bodies.

The scheme will enable the installation of interoperable EV charging infrastructure on both sides of the border, with up to 90 rapid EV charging points delivered in sports locations across the island.

The scheme will contribute to the implementation of the Government’s EV Charging Infrastructure Strategy for installation of EV charging points at destination and residential locations. It will also support the requirement under the strategy to promote the parallel development of aligned standards and the use of interoperable technologies and digital systems on the island. €7.4m for Shared Island Arts investment projects A number of new Shared Island arts capital projects will be progressed by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Up to €7.4m from the Shared Island Fund will support the delivery of a suite of new Arts capital investment projects on the island. These are being developed in consultation with the Arts Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The two Councils frequently work together to co-fund Arts programming and have identified a number of projects including residential and studio spaces for cross-border writer artistic and traditional music collaborations; and digitisation and curation of film, music and architectural archives on an island-wide basis. These projects will be finalised and announced in the coming months.

€40m for delivery of Phase 3 of the Ulster Canal Phase 3 is central to delivery of the commitment under the Programme for Government and the New Decade New Approach agreement to complete the Ulster Canal restoration from Clones to Upper Lough Erne.

This is the major blueway stage of the restoration project, connecting a 10km cross-border route between Castle Saunderson and Clonfad and linking the town of Clones by navigable waterway to the Erne System and onward to the wider waterway network of the Shannon-Erne Waterway, Shannon Navigation and the Royal and Grand Canals.  The feasibility and pre-development work of this phase was enabled by an allocation of €1m from the Shared Island Fund in December 2020.

Three of the four sub-sections of this phase are now ready to be progressed.

-              Phase 3.1 (2kms) Castle Saunderson to Gortnacarrow

-              Phase 3.2 (0.5kms) Gortnacarrow to the Border

-              Phase 3.4 (3.75kms) New canal navigation between the border at Derrynure and the border at Clonfad. These works will bring the restored canal south of the border from Fermanagh and extend it further to the West from Clones. The sub-phases involve substantive infrastructure, including new road bridges and layouts, a marina and restored heritage architecture. More detail on the funding structure and roll out of Phase 3 works will be made available in the autumn.

The final Phases 4 and 5 of the Ulster Canal restoration project are greenways which are also progressing, supported under the EU INTERREG programme.



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