An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, and several government ministers have today launched the €4 billion Project Ireland 2040 funds for rural development, urban regeneration, climate action and innovation.
The four funds are a major innovation in Project Ireland 2040. Rather than allocating funding in a ‘business as usual’ way to government departments, money will be allocated competitively to the best projects, which leverage investment from other sources thereby ensuring that the impact of this investment goes much, much further.
The funds will be open to applications from state agencies, local government, business, educational institutions, chambers of commerce and others but the ideal applications will be collaborative efforts that break down barriers and silos. The call for applications will open in the coming weeks.
The four new funds will help to ensure balanced regional development and are designed to stimulate renewal and investment in rural and urban areas, the environment and innovation, preparing Ireland for a future with 1 million more people and 660,000 more people at work.
Three quarters of new growth will be outside Dublin with 50% of the projected population growth planned for our towns, villages and rural areas and 50% for our cities. The funds are:
Speaking about the launch of the four funds today, An Taoiseach said:
Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said:
In signalling his intention to issue the call for proposals for the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund by the end of June, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD said:
Speaking about the €500 million Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said:
Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD added:
Announcing details of the new €500 million Climate Action Fund, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD said:
Speaking about the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring TD said:
Project Ireland 2040 established four new funds with a combined allocation of €4 billion to 2027. Please see below additional information on each of the four funds.
The primary purpose of the €2 billion fund is to secure more compact, sustainable growth in Ireland’s five cities and other large urban centres (the 59 eligible cities and towns are listed in the annex).
This funding, additional to normal sectoral funding streams, is designed to leverage a greater proportion of residential and commercial development, supported by infrastructure, services and amenities, within the existing built-up areas of our larger urban settlements.
There is a total of €500 million exchequer funding to the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund over the years 2019 to 2022, with €100 million of expenditure available in 2019.
An initial call for proposals is intended to be made before the end of June 2018, allowing a 14-week period for development of applications with a targeted closing date at end September 2018. Proposals will be invited to be submitted under one of two categories:
The initial 2018 call will invite bids that may be made for funding a large project on a multi-annual basis, in respect of which project expenditure can commence in 2019. There will be further calls periodically, with funding/allocations to be increased incrementally as the programme becomes established.
Bid proposals must be on a co-funded basis and must therefore demonstrate significant stakeholder contribution in the form of a combination of wider exchequer and/or state-sector capital expenditure, local authority investment and/or land, or other asset contributions. The co-funding contribution must comprise not less than 25% of the bid value.
There will also be a requirement for 100% (euro-for-euro) leveraging of committed wider private sector investment in the delivery of homes, community and/or commercial floorspace in urban areas, arising from investment to be made as a result of the Urban Fund.
There is a wide range of projects that will be eligible for this regeneration and development funding, including the acquisition, enabling and/or development of areas, sites and buildings, relocation of uses, public amenity works, community facilities, transport, services infrastructure and/or transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society, in an urban context.
Types of areas eligible for funding may include those that include a concentration of low-intensity uses, such as storage depots or warehousing, underutilised ‘backlands’ behind streets and buildings, or institutional sites that are suitable for re-development, as part of an overall regeneration proposal.
Eligible cities and towns
A list of the eligible cities and towns is included below. This may be reviewed post-2021 following the next census.
|1||Dublin City and Metropolitan Area|
|2||Cork City and Metropolitan Area|
|3||Limerick City and Metropolitan Area|
|4||Galway City and Metropolitan Area|
|5||Waterford City and Metropolitan Area|
Towns >10,000 population 2016
| 33 | Tramore
| 34 | Ballina
| 35 | Skerries
| 36 | Longford
Towns <10,000 population, >2,500 jobs 2016
(eligible for either urban or rural funds)
The core objective of the Climate Action Fund is to support initiatives that contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s climate and energy targets in a cost effective manner.
It is important to understand that this fund will be in addition to existing support measures and will seek to support projects that would not otherwise be developed.
The fund will be financed from non-exchequer revenues with excess income from the petroleum products levy redirected to the new Climate Action Fund.
This levy currently supports the National Oil Reserves Agency in carrying out its statutory duties including storage of Ireland’s strategic oil reserve.
In the coming years, not all of this income will be required for these purposes providing €500m for the Climate Action Fund over the timeframe of the National Development Plan.
In June 2018, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment will open the first call for applications for both public and private sector projects.
It is intended that the initial round of applications will be assessed and funding awarded by October of this year. In the coming weeks, further information on the Climate Action Fund, including the call for applications and detailed evaluation criteria will be published by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
The €500 million challenge-based Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is to be implemented through the Department of Business and its agencies, working with other research funding bodies to develop Ireland’s innovation ecosystem and responsiveness.
The fund will see investment in the development and deployment of disruptive innovative technologies and applications, on a commercial basis, targeted at tackling national and global challenges.
A capital funding allocation of €180 million is being made available to the end of 2022. The first call under the fund will be launched in June with a view to announcing the successful projects in November.
The fund is important in positioning Ireland for the future and we expect that projects approved under this fund will be well-placed to leverage EU funding thereafter.
It is explicitly linked to National Strategic Outcome 5 in Project Ireland 2040 (A Strong Economy, supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills) but it is also envisaged the fund that will support projects potentially linked to several of the National Strategic Outcomes called out in the plan.
The government decision of 6 March 2018 confirms that the revised Research Priority Areas for 2018-2023 will inform the design of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund and so our calls will align with the six themes identified in our research prioritisation exercise: ICT; Health and Wellbeing; Food; Energy, Climate Action and Sustainability; Manufacturing and Materials; Services and Business Processes.
Within each of these six themes, we have identified specific priority areas including Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Health and Wellbeing, Advanced and Smart Manufacturing and Smart and Sustainable Food Production and Processing.
The overall objective of this fund is to deliver the strategic outcomes of Project Ireland 2040, and in particular to strengthen rural economies rural communities by rejuvenating smaller towns and villages, helping to diversify employment opportunities in rural areas, supporting the development of rural communities and improving their quality of life.
The fund will target towns with a population of less than 10,000 people, as well as villages and outlying rural areas.
Detailed criteria are now being developed for the first call for proposals which will be announced in the coming weeks.
The fund will encourage collaborative approaches between departments, agencies, local authorities and other public bodies, and the private sector, where appropriate, to pool their assets and work with communities to transform our rural towns and villages and their outlying areas.
Proposals will be expected to be consistent with the National Planning Framework objectives and provide a strategic integrated approach which is consistent with regional and local plans for the area.
Projects must demonstrate a capacity to add value to other public investments. There will be a requirement for a co-funding contribution from other public or private sources – expected to be of the order of 25%.
The first phase will also allow for technical supports for preparatory groundwork for future phase investments, through local authorities and other locally based organisations.