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Minister Donohoe launches new website to promote the benefit to Ireland of EU funding

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, T.D., at the launch with officials from the Southern Regional Assembly and some of the Government Departments involved. Image Credit: Claire Godkin, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Minister Donohoe launches new website to promote the benefit to Ireland of EU funding

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., today launched a new website www.eufunds.gov.ie to publicise the positive impact of European Structural and Investment Funds in Ireland.

Over the 2014-2020 programming period, EU Structural and Investment funds will be used, together with Irish Government and Local Authority funding, to invest €6.2 billion in Ireland. The investment includes initiatives in education, research and job creation to help create a sustainable and healthy economy across the whole of the country. The funds are also spent on protecting our environment, and on supporting rural and coastal communities.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Donohoe commented: “If we reflect on the lessons learnt from major political events in Europe in the past year, a key learning point for all of us here today is that we need to rise to the challenge of communicating more effectively about the very positive impact which EU membership has on all our lives, in every corner of Ireland. It is perhaps a little ironic, in an age of social media and instant messaging, that this very important message is in danger of getting lost.”

The website includes high level information on funding and expenditure under each of the Operational Programmes. However, it also contains a number of very personal stories such as participants on Garda Youth Diversion Projects, or family business start-ups with assistance from Local Enterprise Boards. The website also gives examples of projects countrywide, such as the rollout of broadband, research programmes underway in Universities, and programmes to assist farming and fishing communities. The website is well illustrated with high quality photographic images and designed with the citizen in mind. It is easy to navigate with quick links for individuals and organisations who would like to research how to apply for EU funding.

The launch was attended by a number of organisations involved in the implementation of EU Programmes together with EU officials including the Head of Information and Communications in the European Commission Representation in Ireland.

Minister Donohoe spoke about Brexit at the launch. He commented that: “Ireland has been a proud member of the European Union since 1972” and he reminded the audience that EU membership had created valuable opportunities for Irish business, including unhindered access to a market of nearly 500 million people. Acknowledging the particular challenges which Ireland will face after Brexit, the Minister stated: “Given our close historical and economic ties with Britain, and as the only Member State with a physical border, Brexit represents a more significant challenge for Ireland than any other EU Member State. This has been clearly acknowledged in the UK’s formal Article 50 letter and in the EUs draft guidelines for Brexit negotiations.”

The National Website for the European Structural and Investment Funds is available on www.eufunds.gov.ie

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

The EU Policy Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) co-ordinates the management of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds in Ireland and provides a co-ordination and support service to other Government Departments and the Regional Managing Authorities implementing national and regional Programmes which are co-financed by the Irish Government and the ESI Funds. These Programmes are implemented in seven-year programming periods. The current Programmes cover the seven-year programming period from 2014 to 2020 inclusive.

European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds 2014-2020

The main policy aim of the ESI Funds is to support economic development across all EU countries in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. The main ESIF for which Ireland is eligible are:

  • the European Social Fund (ESF);
  • the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF);
  • the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD);
  • European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

In addition to the ESIF, the Fund for European Aid for the most Deprived (FEAD) is designed to help the most deprived people by providing support to help people out of poverty.

Overall there will be €6.2 billion of expenditure in the 2014-2020 round of funds, which is co-financed by the EU and by the Irish Taxpayer. The funding will be used as follows:

  • Providing training places for unemployed people and job-seekers, with particular programmes for younger unemployed people;
  • Assisting disadvantaged, and disabled students to access University;
  • Supporting Adult Literacy programmes;
  • Assisting young people in difficulty, through Garda Youth Diversion Projects;
  • Assisting vulnerable members of Irish society by supporting the efforts of Irish food aid charities;
  • Supporting fishing communities around the country, assisting in job creation and helping these communities to diversify their economies;
  • Providing high speed broadband to over 300,000 homes across Ireland;
  • Supporting microenterprises in every county of Ireland to create over 20,500 new jobs;
  • Funding Research Programmes which underpin collaborative research between our Universities and Multinationals, creating future clusters of excellence;
  • Protecting the environment and natural habitat;
  • Investing both in physical assets and in knowledge transfer;
  • Promoting animal welfare and food traceability.