Funding secured for five Shared Island projects
Cavan County Council projects have been awarded €1,050,000 in funding under the Shared Island Local Authority Development Funding Scheme, announced at Town Hall Cavan today by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD.
The €4.375 million scheme is being funded through the government’s Shared Island Fund and will support the development of new joint investment projects by cross-border Local Authority partnerships to deliver on agreed regional development goals and the Shared Island dimension of the National Development Plan. The scheme will enable local authorities to partner on a cross-border basis to bring new projects through feasibility or pre-planning stages, with a maximum amount of €250,000 per project awarded.
Among the projects successfully funded are the development of a Cross-Border Masterplan for Cuilcagh, a joint venture which also includes Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; National Parks and Wildlife Service, Ulster Wildlife, Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark Ambassadors, and the Geopark Business Network. This project received €150,000 in funding and will realise the conservation, tourism, recreational and natural value of this shared landscape.
Cavan County Council will also be lead agency on ‘Our Shared Heritage, Where We Belong’ a project which will explore shared opportunities for the development of Castle Saunderson in County Cavan and Castle Caldwell in County Fermanagh. Cavan County Council will be lead authority on this project, which has received €250,000 to develop a feasibility study, and is a partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. The funding will be used to appoint a design team to advance the completion of a series of interlinked large scale capital works at these two iconic sites of significance in the border region.
Cavan County Council is also a partner in three other projects being led by other local authorities: a project to develop a feasibility study for an All-Ireland Columban Way trail; and an Economic Assessment of Potential for Business Development along the Sligo Leitrim and Northern Counties (SLNCR) Greenway. These projects received €150,000 and €250,000, respectively.
The fifth funded project, the development of Sectoral SME innovation clusters and cross-border collaborative networks across local authority areas in Cavan; Monaghan; Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council; Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; and Mid Ulster District Council, has been funded in the amount of €250,000. These clusters – in agri-food, agri-tech, and advanced manufacturing – will support North/South collaborative networks through strategic investment in well planned industrial land and enterprise space.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said: “I am delighted to announce the 25 successful projects which have been awarded funding under the Shared Island Local Authority Funding Scheme. I am not only struck by the diverse range of projects which have come through the process, I am particularly pleased to see such a significant geographic spread across the island.
“Local Authorities in the border region have long-standing partnerships with their Northern counterparts, which I hope will be further enhanced through schemes such as this, and it’s important that there are also newer partnerships such as the projects involving Waterford and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Kerry, Cork, Donegal and Ards and North Down Borough Council that can contribute to the Shared Island vision of communities North and South working together on shared opportunities.”
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD added:
“This is an exciting time for the Local Authorities which have been awarded funding under the Shared Island Local Authority Funding Scheme.
“It’s the first step in a process, which will see them develop concrete plans on strategic North-South investment projects that can make a real difference, not only in their local communities, but regionally and island-wide as well. Through the Government’s Shared Island Fund, and the work of the partner Local Authorities, our goal of investing for a more connected, sustainable and prosperous island is moving ahead.”
Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Councillor John Paul Feeley said “I welcome today’s announcement by An Taoiseach, which will allow Cavan County Council and its cross-border partners to explore the immense shared potential for development of innovative and exciting sustainable tourism, business development, and climate action projects across the island of Ireland.”
Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Mr Tommy Ryan said, “Cavan County Council is a partner in five of the 25 projects funded today, acting as lead agency on two. We look forward to leading and collaborating with our project partners, north and south, to build upon the excellent work completed to date on these applications.”
Director of Service for Planning, Community, Enterprise and Tourism with Cavan County Council, Mr Brendan Jennings said, “The five funded projects today showcase the breadth of possibility for cross-border collaboration that exists in this region. Through our UNESCO-accredited Cuilcagh Lakelands Global Geopark, Cavan and Fermanagh are already collaborating in the area of sustainable tourism and Cross-Border Masterplan for Cuilcagh and the proposal to develop Castles Saunderson and Caldwell in particular will further develop this unique shared resource.”
Feasibility studies commenced under the Shared Island Fund are due to be completed within 12 months.