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Home /The Four Funds/ Ireland and the E.U. Structural Funds article

Ireland and the E.U. Structural Funds

E.U. Structural and Cohesion Funds have been one of the contributing factors to Ireland’s recent economic growth. Total investment under two programming periods 1989 to 1999 will amount to approximately €30 billion, with the Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds contributing €11 billion (this figure includes the C.S.F.’s 1989-1993 and 1994-1999, Community Initiatives and Cohesion Funds). This financial support has enabled Ireland to proceed with its planned upgrade of the roads network, education and training, and the productive sector.

Since joining the E.U. in 1973 Ireland has received over €17 billion in E.U. Structural and Cohesion Funds support (to end 2003). Under the current programming period 2000-2006, Ireland will receive €3.35 billion from the Structural Funds. The Cohesion Fund contributed €586m to Ireland during the period 2000-2003.

N.D.P & C.S.F.
Implementation of the N.D.P / C.S.F.
Projects & Activities funded by the E.U
Applying for Structural Funds

N.D.P & C.S.F.   

To draw down E.U. Structural Funds, each Member State has to draw up and submit a plan setting out its investment priorities for the funding period. This plan, in Ireland’s case, the National Development Plan (N.D.P.) 2000-2006, formed the basis of negotiations between Ireland and the European Commission. The agreement resulted in a Community Support Framework (C.S.F.) document that included actions, objectives, targets, anticipated financial resources, and monitoring, evaluation and control systems. Ireland’s N.D.P. was submitted to the E.U. Commission in November 1999. The N.D.P. and the C.S.F. are currently being implemented as an integrated investment plan and strategy for both economic and social development.

The N.D.P./C.S.F. 2000-2006 is an investment plan for Ireland. Over the seven year period of the Plan, €57 billion will be invested in projects to improve infrastructure, develop a highly-skilled and flexible workforce, enhance competitiveness, promote social inclusion and evenly distribute the benefits of Ireland’s economic growth.

The Plan is divided into Operational Programmes (O.P.s); two Regional, three Inter-Regional (or national), and a separate PEACE Programme which operates in the Border counties and Northern Ireland.

Regional Programmes

  • Border, Midland and Western (B.M.W.).
  • Southern and Eastern (S.& E.).

Inter-Regional (National) Programmes

  • Employment and Human Resource Development.
  • Productive Sector.
  • Economic and Social Infrastructure.

PEACE II Programme (2000-2004)

  • Supports the Peace Process in Northern Ireland and the Border counties of Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan, Louth, Sligo & Leitrim.
  • Each Programme is divided into sub-programmes, which are further broken down into Measures and in some cases Sub-Measures, which outline the specific funding initiatives under each Programme.

Implementation of the N.D.P / C.S.F.   

While, overall responsibility for the implementation of the Plan rests with the Department of Finance, each Operational Programme is administered by a Managing Authority. The authority, in turn, delegates the implementation of individual measures to an Implementing Body (in most cases a Government Department or State Agency).

Each programme is monitored by a Monitoring Committee, comprising representatives from the Government Department or State Agency responsible for implementing the measure, the Social Partners and the Managing Authority. These committees meet twice a year to review progress in the implementation of the Operational Programmes.

The establishment of the B.M.W. and S.& E. regions significantly increases the input and influence of the regions as the N.D.P. is developed and delivered. It represents a significant devolution of responsibility to the two Regional Assemblies by providing for the first time, for regional programmes in a National Development Plan. Up until now, the management of structural programmes has always been centralised at Government Department level in Ireland.

Projects and Activities Funded by the E.U.   

Projects & Activities funded by the E.U. Structural Funds under the N.D.P./C.S.F. 2000-2006 include:

Border Midland and Western Regional & Southern and Eastern Regional O.P.s:

  • Local Infrastructure improvements including Non National Road Improvements, Rural Water Schemes, Waste Management, Urban & Village Renewal and E-Commerce and Communications Infrastructure.
  • Local Enterprise Development in Tourism, Micro- Enterprise,Forestry Fishery Harbours and Aquaculture.
  • Agriculture and Rural Development and Improvements.
  • Childcare Facilities and Improvements, and Staffing.

Economic and Social Infrastructure O.P:

  • National Roads Programme and National Public Transport Services.
  • Waste Water Schemes.
  • Energy Conservation and Alternative/Renewable Energy.

 Employment & Human Resoures Development O.P:

  • National Employment Service.
  • School Completion, Early School Leavers, Third Level Access Initiatives, skills training and traineeships.
  • In Company Training and Life-long Learning Initiatives.
  • Promotion and Monitoring of Equal Opportunities and Educational Equality.

Productive Sector O.P:

  • Research and Technical Development Infrastructure in Third Level Institutions and Manufacturing or internationally traded firms in Ireland.
  • Sea Fisheries Development.

Operational Programmes

Applying for Structural Funds   

Many measures under the N.D.P./C.S.F. (in particular the Regional Programmes) are open to individuals, companies or other groups to submit applications for funding. Qualifying criteria and applications procedures vary between measures. Please contact the lead organisation (Implementing Body) for the measure for more detailed information on procedures and availability of funds.

To view information on specific areas, view the Guide to Funding Section.




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