Established in 2015 under the Local Government Reform Act 2014 and part of the Local Government Sector, the Southern Regional Assembly has a remit for the Southern Region, one of three in Ireland, established in 2015 as the regional tier of government. It incorporates three Strategic Planning Areas, also known as NUTS III regions for EU funding purposes, and ten local authority areas: the South-East - Carlow, Tipperary*, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny; the South-West - Cork City, Cork County, Kerry; and the Mid-West - Clare, Limerick, Tipperary*.
The Assembly forges links between the EU, and national and local levels through Regional Spatial and Economic Planning and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the benefit of the Southern Region and beyond.
The Southern Region is represented by 33 local councillors appointed as Members of the Regional Assembly for a 5-year term - 27 by their constituent local authorities, and 6 as Committee of the Regions representatives. Members meet monthly to discuss issues related to regional planning, submissions to local authorities, national government, and the EU; EU programme management and project benefits; and other statutory functions of the Assembly. They also sit on committees related to EU programme management and regional planning.
Regional & Spatial Planning
The Assembly has a regional role in linking local and national policy goals through regional, spatial and economic planning through the implementation of the RSES for the Southern Region, and an oversight role of the Region's local authority plans; and participation in regional economic fora.
ERDF Regional Operational Programmes
The Assembly has been the Managing Authority for three successive Southern & Eastern Regional Operational Programmes which support a variety of activities in the Southern & Eastern region, including innovation in research, SME supports, low carbon, coronavirus response and sustainable urban development with a mix of national and ERDF funds. The Assembly was appointed Managing Authority of a fourth Regional Operational Programme, this time called Southern Eastern & Midlands, currently under development.
European Territorial Cooperation Programmes
The Assembly is a Programme Partner and Irish Contact Point for the Ireland Wales Programme 2014-20, the designated Irish Contact Point for Interreg North West Europe and the Contact Point for Southern & Eastern region for Interreg Europe. It is also the designated First Level Control audit function for EU funding claims for Irish partners participating in ETC programmes, and a Member State representative on ETC programme monitoring committees.
Participation in EU-funded Projects
The Assembly participates in a range of EU Projects to support, develop, and deliver better policy for the Southern Region, and to facilitate access to a wealth of knowledge from other EU regions to develop better policy solutions to common regional challenges and leadership in sustainable economic, social and environmental development to benefit the Southern Region.