Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Donegal T.D., Charlie McConalogue, has welcomed €50m in new funding to deliver a new suite of Shared Island programmes. Many of the initiatives in the programmes, such as €7.5m investment in the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route brand link, will directly benefit Donegal.
Commenting on the funding, Minister Charlie McConalogue said: “As a border county, the links between Donegal and Northern Ireland are crucial and the Government’s Shared Island unit was established to explore greater links and supports.
“The wide range of programmes announced this week, supported by €50m, will have a huge positive impact on cross-border communities such as the €7.5m brand support between the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route which in part celebrates Donegal’s coastal communities and tourist attractions.”
The Minister continued, “Thank you to the Taoiseach and Senator Niall Blaney for their leadership on cross-border matters.”
The Taoiseach outlined the funding allocations as part of a speech at the 2nd Shared Island Forum at Dublin Castle yesterday (5 December 2022), which are:
- €11m for all-island biodiversity actions on peatlands restoration and biosecurity;
- €7.6m for new all-island tourism brand collaboration and marketing initiatives;
- €8m for a Shared Island dimension to the Creative Ireland programme and cultural heritage projects over 2023-2027;
- €2m funding contribution to a new Shared Island Civic Society fund;
- €12m for development of a cross-border innovation hub;
- €10m funding contribution to a second round of the North South Research Programme.
The Taoiseach also confirmed a contribution of €20m from the Shared Island Fund for Co-Centres for Research and Innovation on Climate and Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems.
These new investment cooperation projects will be delivered through North/South and East-West partnerships and all-island funding programmes, by Ministers and their Departments working with Northern Ireland and UK Government partners.
All-Island Tourism brand collaboration
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media will make available up to €7.6m for tourism agencies to progress a new collaboration to link the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route tourism brands.
The funding will enable tourism agencies to conduct joint work to connect these two internationally-recognised brands, to achieve longer visitor stays and greater economic benefits in the North West and Northern coast regions.
Shared Island dimension to the Creative Ireland programme and cultural heritage projects
There will also be a Shared Island dimension to the Government’s Creative Ireland Programme 2023-27 and make available funding for all-island cultural heritage projects.
This will enable existing elements of the programme, such as Cruinniú na nÓg, the national day of free creativity for children and young people, to be developed on an all-island basis.
Local Authorities’ Culture and Creativity Teams will be encouraged to use and develop cross-border networks to support and take up cultural and creative cooperation opportunities.
New cultural heritage projects, to foster greater appreciation and enjoyment of the diverse linguistic and cultural heritage of the whole island, including the Ulster Scots and Irish traditions will also be developed.