Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and several Government Ministers 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:
€2 billion Urban Regeneration and Development Fund: will secure more compact, sustainable growth in Ireland’s five cities and other large urban centres.
€1 billion Rural Development Fund: will support job creation in rural areas, address de-population of rural communities and support improvements in our towns, villages and their hinterlands that enhance the quality of life of communities and enhance their attractiveness for families who want to live and work there.
€500 million Climate Action Fund: will support initiatives that contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s climate and energy targets.
€500 million Disruptive Technologies 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.
Speaking about the launch of the four funds today, An Taoiseach said:
Three months ago we laid the foundations for the future with the launch of Project Ireland 2040. Today we are outlining how we plan to build on those foundations, through these four game-changing funds. The funds aim to regenerate our urban areas so we can have compact, sustainable growth in Ireland’s five cities and other large urban centres; develop rural Ireland so that prosperity is shared across the whole country; prepare for the greatest challenge facing the planet by acting decisively to protect it; and transform our society through the use of disruptive technologies and, in doing so, create the jobs of the future.