What are the Regional Assemblies?
Together, the three Regional Assemblies comprise the regional tier of government in Ireland. The Regional Assemblies were established in 2015 under the Local Government Reform Act 2014, each one representing one of the three Irish regions:
Southern Regional Assembly: Southern Region,
Eastern & Midland Regional Assembly: Eastern & Midland Region,
Northern & Western Regional Assembly: Northern & Western Region.
Part of the Local Government sector, the Regional Assemblies forge links between the EU, and national and local levels through regional spatial and economic planning and EU Funding at regional level. Each Regional Assembly is responsible for implementing a Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy for their respective regions.
What is the Southern Region of Ireland?
The Southern Region consists of 10 local authority areas: Carlow, Tipperary, Waterford City & County, Wexford, Kilkenny, Cork City, Cork County, Kerry, Clare, and Limerick City & County.
It incorporates three Strategic Planning Areas, also known as NUTS III regions for EU funding purposes:
South-East: Carlow, Tipperary*, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny,
South-West: Cork City, Cork County, Kerry,
Mid-West: Clare, Limerick, Tipperary*.
*Tipperary is part of both the South-East and the Mid-West SPA/ NUTS III regions.
What does the Southern Regional Assembly do?
The Southern Regional Assembly has a key role regarding:
- Strategic planning and sustainable development of the Southern Region,
- Implementing the Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy for the Southern Region,
- Promoting balanced regional development through the management, support and promotion of EU programmes under the EU funds operating in Ireland,
- Linking local, regional, national and EU policy goals through regional planning and EU project activity.
Key Functions of the Southern Regional Assembly include:
- Implementing body for the Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy for the Southern Region,
- Regional planning oversight of local authority development plans, local area plans and local economic and community plans,
- Managing Authority for the Southern & Eastern Regional Programme 2014-20,
- Managing Authority fo rthe Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27,
- Programme Partner and Contact Point for the Ireland Wales Programme 2014-20,
- National Contact Point and Member State Representative for Interreg North-West Europe,
- Regional Contact Point and Member State Representative for Interreg Europe,
- Project partner on several EU co-funded projects on key topics aimed to support the sustainable economic development of the Southern Region,
- First Level Control audit function for Irish partners under European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg) projects - Ireland Wales Programme, Interreg North-West Europe, Interreg Europe, Northern Periphery Programme, Interreg Atlantic Area and URBACT.
What is a RSES?
A RSES is a Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy. A RSES has been developed for each of the Irish regions which is being implemented by the respective Regional Assembly. The RSES' will provide a long-term regional level strategic planning and economic framework in support of the implementation of the National Planning Framework.
A RSES is long-term, strategic development framework for the future physical, economic and social development of an Irish region. It includes Metropolitan Area Strategic Plans (MASPs) to guide the future development of a region’s main cities and metropolitan areas.
You will find information on the RSES for the Southern Region here.
What is EU Cohesion Policy?
EU Cohesion Policy contributes to strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion in the European Union. It aims to correct imbalances between countries and regions. It delivers on the Union's political priorities, especially the green and digital transition.
Does the Southern Regional Assembly provide direct funding?
Funding is available for the Southern & Eastern Regional Operational Programme through the various Intermediate Bodies/Agencies which are detailed in the Implementation Plan. However, the Southern Regional Assembly awarded ERDF grants of €11 million to the Gateway cities of Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Waterford to co-finance a variety of projects from public realm improvements to green transport routes, from arts centres to tourist visitor attractions. This funding was provided under the ERDF Gateways Scheme which is managed directly by the Assembly.
What is a Strategic Planning Area (SPA)?
An SPA is a sub-regional territorial unit consisting of three or more Local Authority areas (City and County Councils) and established on a statutory basis by the Establishment Order (SI 573 of 2014) for the Regional Assemblies. Each SPA has an SPA Committee drawn from elected representatives from the constituent local authorities of that SPA where strategic and policy issues can be considered and recommendations brought to the plenary level of the Regional Assembly.
What is the role of the Regional Assembly in developing local authority level strategic plans?
As the Regional Assembly is centrally involved in the formulation and implementation of regional economic and spatial planning policy (through the forthcoming RSES), the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) confers a statutory planning role on the Regional Assembly to ensure that all local authority development plans are consistent with the RSES and relevant national policy. Draft plans or proposed variations to development plans are referred by the Local Authority to the Regional Assembly. The Regional Assembly consider all such plans in accordance with the provisions of the Planning Act and can issue formal observations and recommendations to the relevant local authority where necessary.
The Regional Assembly has a role in the review of draft LECPs and in their monitoring and implementation. The Assembly works co-operatively with local authorities to develop and implement policy at local level which is consistent with Regional economic and spatial planning objectives.