What is the Southern Regional Assembly
The Southern Regional Assembly established on 1st January 2015, is one of three Assemblies in the Republic of Ireland following on from the dissolution of the BMW and Southern & Eastern Regional Assemblies. The former 8 regional authorities and 2 regional assemblies were consolidated under the Government’s regional reform process under the Local Government Reform Act 2014 to form the Southern, the Northern and Western and the Eastern and Midland regions.
The three new Assemblies incorporate the functions of both the former regional authorities and assemblies, with significant enhancement of some powers, particularly in relation to spatial planning and economic development. During the coming year the Assemblies are charged with preparing new Regional Spatial & Economic Strategies for their regions.
From 1st January 2015, there are 35 councillors appointed to the Assembly in the Southern region, 27 from constituent local authorities and 8 by virtue of their membership of the Committee of the Regions. They are not directly elected but nominated by their respective local authorities from within the Region. The councillors are supported by the staff of the Assembly, mostly based at the Assembly headquarters in Waterford City.
What geographical areas do we cover?
South-East Region Carlow, Tipperary, Waterford City and County, Wexford, Kilkenny
South-West Region Cork City and County, Kerry
Mid-West Region Clare, Limerick City and County, Tipperary
Note: Special arrangements for Tipperary
The former North Tipperary forms part of the Mid-West NUTS III area while the former South Tipperary is in the South-East NUTS III area. The unified county is fully incorporated in Southern Assembly region. Arising from the strong linkage between the northern part of the county and Limerick and between the southern part and Waterford, the 3 Tipperary assembly members will be members of both the Mid-West and South-East Strategic Planning Areas (SPAs).
The Assembly normally meets on the second Friday of every month at its headquarters in Waterford.
What do we do?
- Manage and monitor EU programmes of Assistance
- To co-ordinate, promote and support strategic planning and sustainable development of the region
- To promote effective local government and public services in the region, in conjunction with the National Oversight and Audit Commission
- To prepare and oversee the implementation of Regional Spatial & Economic Strategies (RSES).
Following the regional reform process the Assembly has:
A stronger role in economic development through the adoption of Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies, which will replace the regional planning guidelines (RPGs), with participation by relevant government departments and state agencies, in the formulation of, and adherence to, the regional strategies. The strategy will be developed for the entire Southern Region, but will contain chapters for each Strategic Planning Area.
A new role in linking local economic development with regional and national planning through oversight of Local Economic and Community Plans and involvement in regional economic fora in conjunction with relevant interests.
An important role in promoting and supporting balanced regional development through management of European Structural and Investment funds programmes (ERDF) and securing EU funding for specific regional projects, and also forging linkages between these functions and spatial and economic strategy.
Preparation of reports on aspects of local authority performance at the request of the National Oversight and Audit Commission.
A key aspect of the planning and economic development role is that the work in formulating the new Spatial and Economic Strategy will be undertaken at the sub-regional areas, which correspond broadly to the 8 former regional authority areas. These will be the building blocks for spatial and economic planning and statutory committees, involving the Assembly members from these areas, together with outside interests, will be established. The relevant chapters formulated by these committees will feed into the preparation of the over-arching spatial & economic strategy for the Southern Region, to be formally adopted by the Regional Assembly.
The S&E Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020 Area
The Assembly is the Managing Authority for the Southern and Eastern Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020, it focuses on five main areas:
- Stregthening Research, Technology and Innovation
- Information and Communications Technology Infrastructure
- SME Competitiveness
- Support the shift towards a low-carbon economy
- Sustainable Urban Development
The Programme was formally approved by the EU Commission in December 2014.
A Monitoring Committee, consisting of representatives from all the prescribed groups, meets annually to review the effectiveness and quality of the implementation of the themes under the Regional Programme. The Regional Assembly provides the Chair and Secretariat for the Monitoring Committee of the Southern & Eastern Regional Operational Programme.
The Assembly receives funding from the Irish exchequer and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to carry out its functions as the Managing Authority for the Regional Programme.
What else do we do?
We have a role to play in a number of transnational programmes collectively called European Territorial Co-operation Programmes (ETCP). These programmes are co-funded by the ERDF and were formerly known as Interreg programmes. The programmes are an integral part of the EU’s Cohesion policy. The Assembly’s role ranges from managing the programme to acting as the Irish contact point or providing the first level financial control function.
We are the Managing and Certifying Authority for the Ireland Wales Territorial Co-operation Programme 2007-2013. The Assembly continues as the Programme Partner for the Ireland-Wales programme during the 2014-2020 period. However the Managing Authority and Certifying Authority functions revert to the Welsh Government for this programming period.
More about the current Ireland Wales Programme can be read here.
We are the designated national contact point and provide the first level financial control function for the North West Europe Programme.
More about the North West Europe Programme can be read here.
We are involved in the Atlantic Area, the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (formerly NPP) and INTERREG EUROPE Programme (formerly Interreg IVC), acting as contact point and/or first level financial control for the NPP & Interreg IVC programmes.
Read more about the Atlantic Area, the Northern Periphery and Interreg VC programmes.